Company faces deadline on cellphone jamming fine

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News,Business

BROUSSARD, La. (AP) — An oilfield company faces a May deadline to contest a $126,000 fine by the Federal Communications Commission assessed against the company for jamming cellphone calls.

The Daily Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/17xpAiL) that on April 9, the FCC adopted a notice of apparent liability against Taylor Oilfield Manufacturing Inc. of Broussard, accusing Taylor of using four cellular phone jammers to curtail cellphone use by employees.

Company officials told the FCC the cell jammers, which disrupt cellphone usage, were used to prevent employees from using cellphones at work.

Taylor was given 30 days from April 9 to pay the penalty or respond to the FCC in writing as to why the fine should be canceled or reduced.

Taylor officials did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

The case began after the FCC received a tip and sent an agent to the company site in Broussard in May 2012. The FCC notice said company officials confirmed use of four cell jammers and possession of a fifth cell jammer, which was not then in use.

Use of cell jammers is prohibited in the United States, and the FCC prohibits companies from importing cell jammers from outside the country. The Broussard company said it bought its cell jammers from overseas, the FCC said.

"These unlawful jammer operations posed a tangible public safety hazard by potentially blocking authorized communications" such as 911 emergency calls and other law enforcement communications, the FCC said in its notice to the company. Cell jammers can also adversely affect global positioning system signals.

Taylor representatives told the FCC it tried to block employee cellphone use after a near accident the company said was partly connected to an employee using a cellphone, according to FCC documents.

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Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com

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