FCC Fines Sprint Nextel, Alltel and US Cellular

They have failed to meet the enhanced 911 deadline

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Sprint Nextel, Alltel and U.S. Cellular with nearly USD 3 million collectively for failing to meet enhanced 911 deadline. They now have 30 days to pay or appeal the fines.

The main reason for FCC's decision was that the companies had failed to provide enough customers with emergency GPS location technology. This type of services is considered to be extremely important, which gives reason for the huge fine that they are now up for paying.

The companies had until the end of year 2005 to meet the requiring that 95 percent of the wireless carriers' subscribers have phones that are location-capable. Sprint almost met the deadline in January, with a 94.7 percent rate, although FCC said that the provider offered the service to only 84 percent of its subscribers at the end of year 2005.

"Our actions today underscore the critical importance that 911 services play in the lives of the public", FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said. "I continue to believe that one of the Commission's highest obligations is facilitating the ability of the public safety community to help those in need. Effective enforcement of our E911 rules is a valuable and necessary tool in achieving this mission", he further added.

Sprint will have to pay a USD 1.3 million fine, Alltel's a USD 1 million and U.S. Cellular's will give FCC a total of USD 500,000. It is uncertain what the operators will decide to do in order to solve this situation. Sprint states that it currently has reached 94.7 percent penetration, while Alltel denied being out of line with FCC regulations.

U.S. Cellular has made no comments on the issue. There are still 30 days left for matters to clear, leaving the operators choose whether to pay the fine or appeal it.

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