America's three largest wireless carriers are being held at least partly responsible for the spread of a wildfire that engulfed California's Malibu Canyon in 2007.
AT&T, Verizon and Sprint will pay a total of $12 million in a settlement agreement with California utility regulators.
Strong winds knocked over utility poles in October 2007, starting a fire that destroyed more than one dozen structures and more than 30 cars. The state's Public Utilities Commission said the wireless carriers might have mounted their antennas on the poles in an unsafe manner, according to KPCC Radio.
Nearly two-thirds of the settlement will go into California's general fund; the remainder will go toward future utility-pole inspection.
Two smaller companies – Southern California Edison and NextG – are still being investigated. They, too, had equipment on the poles that fell.