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ReconRobotics Pays $17,500 to End FCC Investigation of Rules Violations

07/14/2011

On Wednesday, July 13, the FCC announced that its Enforcement Bureau and ReconRobotics have entered into a Consent Decree. This resolves an FCC investigation in response to a complaint filed by the ARRL. In 2010, the ARRL alleged that ReconRobotics had violated Section 302a(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 as amended and Section 2.803 of the Commission’s rules regarding the manufacturing, marketing, distributing and selling of radio frequency transmitters. In the complaint the ARRL alleged that ReconRobotics had unlawfully marketed the Recon Scout -- a remote-controlled, maneuverable surveillance robot operating in the 430-448 MHz band -- to public safety agencies and certain security personnel prior to the grant of a necessary waiver. The FCC granted a waiver to ReconRobotics in 2010 allowing public safety licensees to operate the device in a portion of the 70cm band. To date, no license applications have been granted by the Commission for the device and the ARRL has petitioned to deny all applications filed.

“After reviewing the terms of the Consent Decree and evaluating the facts before us, we find that the public interest would be served by adopting the Consent Decree and terminating the investigation,” the FCC stated. With the announcement of the Consent Decree, and subject to the payment of $17,500, the FCC declared that the investigation into whether ReconRobotics’ marketing of its device is terminated.

On March 15, 2010 -- in response to an ARRL complaint alleging that ReconRobotics had unlawfully marketed the Recon Scout surveillance device before receiving an equipment certification from the FCC, the FCC issued a Letter of Inquiry to ReconRobotics. The Letter of Inquiry directed ReconRobotics to respond to a series of questions regarding the manufacturing, marketing, distributing and selling of the Recon Scout. According to the Consent Decree, ReconRobotics responded to the Letter of Inquiry on April 23, 2010 and at that point, both ReconRobotics and the FCC entered into settlement discussions.

The FCC agreed to terminate its investigation “[i]n express reliance on the covenants and representations in this Consent Decree and to avoid further expenditure of public resources. In return, ReconRobotics agreed to the terms, conditions and procedures of the Consent Decree,” including the payment $17,500 to the United States Treasury within 30 days after the effective date of the order.

The FCC further agreed that as long as no new evidence is presented, it will not use anything it discovered during its investigation against ReconRobotics “to institute, on its own motion, any new proceeding, formal or informal, or take any action on its own motion against ReconRobotics, or any party engaged in the evaluation of ReconRobotics’s products, concerning the matters that were the subject of the Investigation” or “take any action on its own motion against ReconRobotics with respect to ReconRobotics’s basic qualifications, including its character qualifications, to be a Commission licensee or to hold Commission licenses or authorizations.”

In addition to the $17,500 payment, per the Consent Decree, ReconRobotics agreed to create and maintain a Compliance Plan by August 12. This Compliance Plan establishes how ReconRobotics will comply with the Communications Act and the FCC rules and orders concerning the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and selling of radio frequency devices. As part of the Compliance Plan, ReconRobotics must implement a training program for all employees and will designate a Compliance Officer who will be responsible for ensuring that the Compliance Plan is administered properly. ReconRobotics will also file periodic compliance reports with the Commission.

“The ARRL is pleased that the Commission has now addressed these clear and repeated violations over time of the FCC’s equipment authorization rules and the Communications Act by ReconRobotics,” said ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND.



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