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FCC Tells LED Sign Marketers to Abide by Statutes and Rules

12/03/2018

The FCC Enforcement Bureau has called on on marketers of light-emitting diode (LED) signs to ensure that these lights comply with FCC rules. Since March of this year, the agency has entered into 21 settlement agreements with companies that marketed noncompliant LED signs in violation of the Communications Act and FCC rules. The settlements yielded approximately $850,000 in penalties, and commitments to ensure compliance with the law going forward. Adherence to the FCC’s equipment authorization and marketing rules is critical because radio frequency emissions from the signs may cause harmful interference to licensed communications, such as wireless services, the FCC said.

“In light of these recent settlements, we remind LED sign marketers of their obligations under the law,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold. “The FCC takes seriously its responsibility in ensuring that energy-emitting devices like LED lights do not interfere with authorized transmissions.”

LED lights are often used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications, including billboards and large video displays in sports arenas. Given the electrical design of these lights, they may emit RF energy. Prior to being marketed in the US, LED sign models must be tested and comply with FCC technical standards and must include the proper labeling, identification, and user information disclosures. The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) oversees the equipment authorization process for RF devices, including LED signs.

The Enforcement Bureau investigated hundreds of indoor and outdoor LED sign models and discovered repeated FCC rule violations concerning the failure to market the models with the required equipment authorizations, labeling, and user information disclosures. To settle its respective investigation, each company verified that the models at issue were brought into compliance with FCC rules, agreed to pay a monetary penalty, and committed to abide by a compliance plan to improve internal procedures to avoid future violations.

The Bureau has settled 21 investigations to date, with penalties as high as $115,000. Each settlement is available on the FCC Enforcement Bureau home page.



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