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Skyscraper owner says it will resolve cellphone interference issue

Federal Communications CommissionVerizon Communications

The owner of a downtown skyscraper that was cited for using light bulbs that interfere with area mobile phone service said it would work to resolve any issues.

After complaints from Verizon Wireless, Federal Communications Commission agents visited Ernst & Young Plaza at 725 South Figueroa St. in April to investigate the interference, according to a citation issued Feb. 7.

The commission discovered that GE fluorescent light bulbs in the building were the “source of radio emissions causing interference to the Verizon 700MHz LTE cell site.” 

"Brookfield strives to be a good neighbor and we are committed to resolving any technical issues associated with our properties," according to a statement from Brookfield Office Properties, which owns Ernst & Young Plaza.

The property owner declined to comment further on the issue.

According to a 2012 GE bulletin, the lighting ballasts were tested in accordance with FCC requirements, but a small number produced high-frequency radio emissions “that have the potential to cause interference with certain types of wireless communications.” The bulletin also said GE would replace affected equipment.

“I can’t download anything,” Patrick Gonsalves, who works in the building, told KTLA-TV, adding that he thought concrete from the building was causing the interference.

The FCC issued a citation after a warning was issued to Brookfield in May and agents visited the site in November with equipment to confirm the emissions disrupting Verizon's frequencies were from the fluorescent lights.

Brookfield must respond within 30 days of the citation. If the interference continues, it could be fined as much as $16,000 a day up to a total of $112,500 and subject to additional sanctions.

A similar case occurred last year at a San Antonio salon when fluorescent lights interfered with an AT&T cell site located next door, according to an FCC citation. 

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samantha.schaefer@latimes.com

Twitter: @Sam_Schaefer

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