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Ernst & Young Plaza Lightbulbs Jamming Verizon Cell Signals

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Some fluorescent lightbulbs inside the Ernst & Young Plaza tower at Seventh and Figueroa are emitting a frequency that's interfering with the Verizon Wireless network, and people who work in the building are complaining about dropped calls, unsent text messages, and other trouble with their cell service. The Downtown News reports that the Federal Communications Commission has now cited the building's owner, Brookfield Properties (which owns tons of office properties Downtown), after nearly a year of investigation and complaints. They first looked into the matter last April after Verizon complained, and sent a warning in May 2013 but got no response, according to the citation issued earlier this month.

Verizon told the FCC "that GE fluorescent lighting electronic ballasts in the Building were the source of radio emissions causing interference to the Verizon Wireless 700 MHz LTE cell site." GE has found that some of their UltraMax ballasts "produced unintentionally high-frequency radio that have the potential to cause interference with certain types of wireless communications," and the FCC confirmed that the lights were the culprit in a November visit to E&Y Plaza.

According to KTLA, "Verizon customers have been the most affected by the interference, but customers of others cell phone providers have also felt the effects of the interference." Brookfield has 30 days to replace the bulbs or they'll be fined up to $112,500 and possibly face criminal charges. GE says they'll exchange all of the building's bulbs.
[Ernst & Young Plaza via Brookfield; cell bars via Shutterstock]
· Brookfield Cited for Interfering Frequencies [Downtown News]