FCC Fines AFX $90,000 to Resolve Unauthorized Marketing Investigation on LED Light Fixtures

FCC Fines AFX $90,000 to Resolve Unauthorized Marketing Investigation on LED Light Fixtures. AFX’s under-cabinet LED light fixtures were reportedly causing interference to AM/FM radio transmissions. Last year, the Bureau’s Spectrum Enforcement Division issued a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to AFX, directing it to submit a sworn written response to a series of questions relating to AFX’s marketing of its LED lighting fixtures. Prior to AFX’s receipt of the LOI, the LED light fixtures were not tested and authorized under the Commission’s equipment authorization rules prior to marketing. AFX continued to market the light fixtures during an approximately 5-month period after receipt of the LOI. AFX subsequently resolved all matters relating to its apparent noncompliance with the Commission’s equipment marketing rules.

In 2014, NPSTC issued a questionnaire and subsequent report in 2015 on Radio Interference from Energy Efficient Lighting.  NPSTC had been approached by several individuals and organizations, who reported interference to public safety radio networks from energy efficient lighting. Las Vegas, Nevada, experienced extreme interference in the UHF band from a business using excited plasma lights. An incident management team operating at a fire in northern California had set up and tested all of its communications equipment, but during the evening operational period, all communications failed. The source was determined to be a string of overhead fluorescent lights.

NPSTC also wrote a letter to the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology to recommend the Commission open a proceeding to address the need for updates to its rules to help prevent interference from the outset as the deployment of energy efficient lighting is expected to increase over time.