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Dark Tower May Cost Company $10,000

FCC issues notice of apparent liability in Michigan case

When an FCC agent drives past your 800-foot tower after dark, you’d better hope the tower is lit.

Improper lighting could end up costing a Michigan company $10,000. The Detroit office of the FCC Enforcement Bureau issued a notice of apparent liability against Global Tower, owner of a structure in Oak Park.

“Unlit antenna structures present a significant public safety risk, especially to passing aircraft,” the commission wrote.

The case started when an FCC agent noticed the tower was “completely unlit after sunset,” according to the commission’s account. It said the FAA had not received a required Notice to Airmen, so the agent filed one to make pilots aware. The agent said the tower remained unlit the next day but that after he emailed the owner, the lighting was fixed and the lighting alarm replaced.

Responding to a notice of violation, Global Tower told the FCC that it had been unaware of the outage until contacted, that its remote lighting alarm had failed for multiple days, that it took immediate steps to fix the problem and that the lighting system was now functioned.

The FCC replied that its rules require antenna structure owners to observe the lights visually every 24 hours or else use an automatic alarm system. “Based on the evidence before us, we find that Global apparently willfully and repeatedly violated … the rules by failing to: (1) monitor the antenna structure’s obstruction lighting on a daily basis or maintain an operational lighting alarm system; and (2) exhibit required red obstruction lighting on the antenna structure from sunset to sunrise.”

Global Tower has 30 days to file any appeal.