FCC Proposes Maximum Fine for Bad Broadband Data

Exterior of the FCC building in Washington, D.C.
(Image credit: FCC)

The FCC has proposed fining Barrier Communications $163,912, the most it could fine them by law, the FCC said, for "apparently reporting inaccurate information that significantly inflated its broadband subscription numbers, failing to file required deployment data, making false statements to Commission investigators, and failing to respond to other inquiries."

The FCC is in the process of coming up with better broadband availability maps and a process to challenge that data both on its own initiative and with a bipartisan push from Congress.

Barrier allegedly reported "vastly" more broadband subs than there were housing units in Suffolk County, N.Y., census tracts where it said it was delivering service.

It also allegedly failed to file the requisite file 477 data for over a decade and provided incomplete and inaccurate answers to the FCC's Enforcement Bureau.

The fine is only a proposal--in the form of a notice of apparent liability. Barrier will get a chance to respond to the allegations before the FCC takes any action.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.