The Federal Communications Commission has denied a petition from HobbyKing asking the agency to reconsider its $2,861,128 fine for marketing drone transmitters that did not comply with FCC equipment marketing rules.

An FCC investigation found that dozens of devices marketed by the company transmitted in unauthorized radio frequency bands and, in some cases, operated at excessive power levels.

HobbyKing marketed devices that provide a video link between transmitters mounted on unmanned aircraft systems and users flying drones. Under FCC rules, these devices must have obtained certification through the FCC’s equipment authorization process based on their operating parameters. This certification requirement ensures that radio frequency equipment will not interfere with federal government operations, private licensed operations, and other equipment. The FCC’s investigation found that HobbyKing marketed 65 models of devices that were required to be, but were not, certified by the Commission.

The Memorandum Opinion and Order adopted by the Commission today denies a Petition for Reconsideration filed by ABC Fulfillment Services, LLC and Indubitably, Inc., which do business under the name HobbyKing. In June 2020, the FCC adopted a Forfeiture Order for violations of section 302 of the Communications Act and section 2.803 of the Commission’s rules by marketing noncompliant radio frequency equipment and failing to respond to Commission orders in the investigation of the Company’s practices. The Commission generally only grants a petition for reconsideration if the parties find a material error or omission in the FCC’s actions, or if new facts are presented in the case. It is not an opportunity to restate prior, rejected arguments. In that light, the Commission denied the petition.


Several years ago, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against HobbyKing for marketing drone transmitters that did not comply with our rules. Failure to abide by our radiofrequency policies can lead to interference with other wireless users, including public safety authorities. Today we finally bring this proceeding to a conclusion by upholding an order directing forfeiture of more than $2.8 million. This is the right thing to do with this company. Let it also be a notice to all others that we take our policies protecting our airwaves seriously and if you fail to do so, we will find you.

Thank you to the Enforcement Bureau for their work on this effort, including Rosemary Harold, Christopher Killion, Jason Koslofsky, Jeremy Marcus, Neal McNeil, Elizabeth Mumaw, Ashley Tyson, and Josh Zeldis. Thank you also to David Horowitz, Douglas Klein, Linda Oliver, and William Richardson from the Office of General Counsel; Kari Hicks from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau; and Thomas Struble from the Office of Engineering and Technology.

Source: Press Release

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