Click here for Adobe Acrobat version
Click here for Microsoft Word version

******************************************************** 
                      NOTICE
********************************************************

This document was converted from Microsoft Word.

Content from the original version of the document such as
headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, graphics, and page numbers
will not show up in this text version.

All text attributes such as bold, italic, underlining, etc. from the
original document will not show up in this text version.

Features of the original document layout such as
columns, tables, line and letter spacing, pagination, and margins
will not be preserved in the text version.

If you need the complete document, download the
Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat version.

*****************************************************************



                           Before the
                Federal Communications Commission
                     Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                )
                                )
Pine Bluffs Community Television System )    File  No.  EB-02-TS-

056
                                )
Operator of Cable Systems in:   )
                                )
Pine Bluffs, Wyoming            )
Guernsey and Hartville, Wyoming )
Fort Laramie, Wyoming           )
                                )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the     )    
Commission's Rules              )    
                                        
                              ORDER 

Adopted:  May 29, 2002                  Released:  May 31, 2002

By the Chief, Technical  and Public Safety Division,  Enforcement 
Bureau:

1.        In  this  Order,   we  grant   Pine  Bluffs   Community 
  Television   System  (``Pine   Bluffs'')  temporary,   36-month 
  waivers for the three above-captioned cable television  systems 
  of  Section 11.11(a)  of  the Commission's  Rules  (``Rules'').  
  Section  11.11(a) requires  cable  systems serving  fewer  than 
  5,000 subscribers  from a  headend to  either provide  national 
  level  Emergency  Alert   System  (``EAS'')  messages  on   all 
  programmed  channels or  install EAS  equipment and  provide  a 
  video interrupt and audio alert on all programmed channels  and 
  EAS  audio  and  video messages  on  at  least  one  programmed 
  channel by October 1, 2002.1

2.        The Cable Act of 1992  added new Section 624(g) to  the 
  Communications  Act  of 1934  (``Act''),  which  requires  that 
  cable  systems be  capable of  providing  EAS alerts  to  their 
  subscribers.2  In 1994, the Commission adopted rules  requiring 
  cable systems to participate in EAS.3  In 1997, the  Commission 
  amended the  EAS rules  to provide financial  relief for  small 
  cable systems.4  The Commission declined to exempt small  cable 
  systems  from the  EAS requirements,  concluding that  such  an 
  exemption would be  inconsistent with the statutory mandate  of 
  Section  624(g).5    However,  the   Commission  extended   the 
  deadline   for  cable   systems  serving   fewer  than   10,000 
  subscribers to  begin complying with the  EAS rules to  October 
  1, 2002,  and provided cable systems  serving fewer than  5,000 
  subscribers the option  of either providing national level  EAS 
  messages  on   all  programmed  channels   or  installing   EAS 
  equipment and  providing a video interrupt  and audio alert  on 
  all programmed channels and EAS audio and video messages on  at 
  least  one programmed  channel.6  In  addition, the  Commission 
  stated that  it would grant waivers of  the EAS rules to  small 
  cable  systems  on  a case-by-case  basis  upon  a  showing  of 
  financial  hardship.7   The Commission  indicated  that  waiver 
  requests must contain at least the following information:   (1) 
  justification for the waiver, with reference to the  particular 
  rule sections  for which  a waiver is  sought; (2)  information 
  about the financial status of the requesting entity, such as  a 
  balance sheet and  income statement for the two previous  years 
  (audited, if possible);  (3) the number of other entities  that 
  serve the  requesting entity's coverage area  and that have  or 
  are expected to  install EAS equipment; and (4) the  likelihood 
  (such  as proximity  or frequency)  of hazardous  risks to  the 
  requesting entity's audience.8

3.        Pine Bluffs  filed a  request for  permanent waiver  of 
  Section 11.11(a) on January 4, 2002.  In support of its  waiver 
  request,  Pine  Bluffs states  that  the  system  serving  Pine 
  Bluffs has  only 347 subscribers,  the system serving  Guernsey 
  and  Hartsville  has  only  293  subscribers,  and  the  system 
  serving  Fort Laramie  has only  37  subscribers.  Based  on  a 
  price quote  provided by  an EAS  equipment manufacturer,  Pine 
  Bluffs estimates  that it  would cost  approximately $9,290  to 
  install EAS  equipment at  each of  these systems  for a  total 
  cost  of $27,870.   Pine Bluffs  asserts  that this  cost  will 
  impose a  significant negative  impact on it  and provides  its 
  balance  sheets and  income statements  for  1999 and  2000  in 
  support of  this assertion.  In  addition, Pine Bluffs  submits 
  that  its subscribers  are  well  served by  other  sources  of 
  emergency    information.     Pine    Bluffs    states     that 
  Guernsey/Hartsville and Laramie  are served by five  television 
  stations  and  three radio  stations,  which  are  required  to 
  install  EAS equipment,  and  there  is a  siren  for  alerting 
  residents  of these  communities to  emergencies.  Pine  Bluffs 
  states that  the community  of Pine  Bluffs is  served by  five 
  television  stations and  five radio  stations and  also has  a 
  siren  for alerting  residents to  emergencies.  Finally,  Pine 
  Bluffs asserts  that the likelihood of  hazardous risks to  its 
  audience is minimal.  In  this regard, it notes that the  three 
  systems are  located in  the southeastern  portion of  Wyoming, 
  which  is  not in  the  tornado  belt and  is  not  subject  to 
  earthquakes and hurricanes.

4.        We decline to grant Pine  Bluffs a permanent waiver  of 
  Section 11.11(a).  The  Commission provided cable systems  with 
  fewer  than 10,000  subscribers a  five-year extension  of  the 
  deadline  to comply  with the  EAS  rules.  Thus,  small  cable 
  systems  have  already  had  five  years  to  budget  for   EAS 
  equipment.   We also  conclude that  the financial  information 
  submitted by  Pine Bluffs does not  justify a permanent  waiver 
  of Section 11.11(a).9  

5.        However, based upon  our review of  the financial  data 
  and other  information submitted  by Pine  Bluffs, we  conclude 
  that temporary, 36-month waivers of Section 11.11(a) for  these 
  three systems is warranted.10  In particular, we find that  the 
  estimated $27,870  cost of EAS equipment  for these three  very 
  small cable systems  could impose a financial hardship on  Pine 
  Bluffs in the short term.  

6.        We note that  the Commission recently  amended the  EAS 
  rules  to  permit  cable  systems  serving  fewer  than   5,000 
  subscribers  to   install  FCC-certified  decoder-only   units, 
  rather  than both  encoders  and  decoders, if  such  a  device 
  becomes  available.11    Based  on   comments  from   equipment 
  manufacturers, we  anticipate that such  a decoder-only  system 
  could  result  in  significant  cost  savings  to  small  cable 
  systems.12  

7.        Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED  that, pursuant to  Sections 
  0.111,  0.204(b)  and   0.311  of  the  Rules,13  Pine   Bluffs 
  Community  Television System  IS GRANTED  a waiver  of  Section 
  11.11(a)  of the  Rules until  October 1,  2005 for  the  three 
  captioned cable systems.

8.        IT  IS  FURTHER  ORDERED  that  Pine  Bluffs  Community 
  Television System  place a copy  of this waiver  in its  system 
  files.

9.        IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Order  shall 
  be sent by  Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to  counsel 
  for Pine Bluffs  Community Television Systems, Howard J.  Barr, 
  Esq., Pepper  & Corazzini, L.L.P., 1776  K Street, N.W.,  Suite 
  200, Washington, D.C. 20006.

                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
                         


                         Joseph P. Casey
                         Chief, Technical and Public Safety 
Division
                         Enforcement Bureau
_________________________

  1 47 C.F.R.  11.11(a).

  2 Cable Television  Consumer Protection and Competition Act  of 
1992, Pub. L. No. 102-385,  16(b), 106 Stat. 1460, 1490  (1992).  
Section 624(g) provides that  ``each cable operator shall  comply 
with such standards as the  Commission shall prescribe to  ensure 
that viewers of video programming  on cable systems are  afforded 
the same emergency  information as is  afforded by the  emergency 
broadcasting system pursuant to Commission regulations ....''  47 
U.S.C.  544(g).  

  3 Amendment  of Part 73, Subpart  G, of the Commission's  Rules 
Regarding the Emergency  Broadcast System, Report  and Order  and 
Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, FO Docket Nos. 91-171/91-
301, 10  FCC  Rcd  1786  (1994)  (``First  Report  and  Order''), 
reconsideration granted in part, denied in part, 10 FCC Rcd 11494 
(1995).

  4 Amendment  of Part 73, Subpart  G, of the Commission's  Rules 
Regarding the  Emergency  Broadcast  System,  Second  Report  and 
Order, FO  Docket Nos.  91-171/91-301, 12  FCC Rcd  15503  (1997) 
(``Second Report and Order'').

  5 Id. at 15512-13.

  6 Id. at 15516-15518.

  7 Id. at 15513.

  8 Id. at 15513, n. 59.

  9 It  is consistent with Commission  precedent to consider  the 
financial  condition  of  an  entity's  consolidated  operations, 
rather than a limited portion of its operations, in evaluating an 
entity's financial hardship claim.   See KASA Radio Hogar,  Inc., 
FCC 02-93 (released March 27, 2002); Hinton Telephone Company  of 
Hinton, Oklahoma, 7 FCC Rcd 6643, 6644 (CCB 1992), review denied, 
8 FCC Rcd 5176 (1993).

  10  The waiver  will extend  36 months  from October  1,  2002, 
until October 1, 2005.

  11 Amendment  of Part  11 of the  Commission's Rules  Regarding 
the Emergency Alert System,  EB Docket 01-66, FCC  02-64 at   71 
(released February 26, 2002).

  12 One manufacturer  estimated that an EAS decoder-only  system 
can reduce the cost by 64% over what a cable operator would spend 
for an encoder/decoder unit.  Id. at  70.

  13 47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311.