Feds Cite Owner Of Downtown LA Skyscraper For Cellphone Interference

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Federal regulators have cited the owner of one of the largest skyscrapers in the city of Los Angeles over fluorescent lights that are apparently causing interference with cellphones.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reports the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered the managers of the Ernst & Young Plaza at 725 S. Figueroa Street to change the light bulbs, which have been blamed for creating static on frequencies used by Verizon for cellular data and voice calls.

Feds Cite Owner Of Downtown LA Skyscraper For Cellphone Interference

The citation said, in part, “The lighting is the source of radio emissions causing interference to the Verizon Wireless…cell site.”

Tommy Choi, a Verizon customer who works in the downtown building, said he loses service.

“It’s kind of a hassle sometimes because I would have to go all the way downstairs to get a signal to call my friends or get text messages,” he said.

Hayden Hartford works within three blocks of the building and said his Verizon service is terrible.

“Lost or delayed messages as far as texting goes, dropped calls,” he said.

The New York City-based real estate company could face possible fines, seizures of equipment and criminal sanctions if it fails to address the issue, which was revealed in a FCC complaint issued Friday.

According to regulators, agents from its enforcement bureau went out to the 41-story building at Seventh and Figueroa streets last April. Engineers traced the source of the problem to light bulbs manufactured by GE, which is offering to exchange the bulbs, the FCC said.

The building’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, was then given 30 days to respond to the citation. They could, however, opt to challenge it.

A Brookfield representative said via phone that they strive to be a good neighbor, but they don’t comment on regulatory matters.

Verizon, which has a building right across from the Ernst & Young Plaza, couldn’t be reached for comment.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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