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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Panora Cooperative Cable ) File No. EB-02-TS-155
Association, Inc. )
Operator of Cable System in: )
Panora, Iowa )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the )
Commission's Rules )
Adopted: June 18, 2002 Released: June 21, 2002
By the Chief, Technical and Public Safety Division, Enforcement
1. In this Order, we grant Panora Cooperative Cable
Association, Inc. (``Panora Co-op'') a temporary, 12-month
waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the Commission's Rules
(``Rules'') for the above-captioned cable television system.
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. Panora Co-op filed a request for a temporary, 36-month
waiver of Section 11.11(a) for the captioned cable system on
April 24, 2002. In support of its waiver request, Panora Co-
op states that this small, rural cable system consists of a
single headend serving a total of 1,338 subscribers and that
only 1,194 subscribers are customers of Panora Co-op. 9 Based
on a price quote provided by an EAS equipment manufacturer,
Panora Co-op estimates that it would cost approximately $8,700
to install EAS equipment at this system. Panora Co-op asserts
that this cost will impose a substantial financial hardship on
it and provides its financial statement for 2000 and 2001 in
support of this assertion. In addition, Panora Co-op submits
that its subscribers will continue to have ready access to
national EAS information from other sources, including its
cable systems. In this regard, Panora Co-op notes that its
subscribers currently have access to national EAS messages on
almost one-third of all programmed channels. Panora Co-op also
asserts that its subscribers will have access to EAS
information through over-the-air reception of broadcast
television and radio stations. Finally, Panora Co-op believes
that it will be able to fund EAS equipment for the system in
the next three years.
4. Based upon our review of the financial data and other
information submitted by Panora Co-op, we decline to issue
a temporary, 36-month waiver of Section 11.11(a) for the
captioned system. However, we find that the estimated $8,700
cost of EAS equipment for this small cable system could impose
a financial hardship on Panora Co-op. Therefore, we conclude
that a temporary, 12-month waiver of Section 11.11(a) for the
captioned system is warranted.10
5. 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
6. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections
0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311 of the Rules,13 Panora Cooperative
Cable Association, Inc. IS GRANTED a waiver of Section
11.11(a) of the Rules until October 1, 2003 for the captioned
cable television system.
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Panora Coorperative
Cooperative Cable Association, Inc. place a copy of this
waiver in its system file.
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to counsel
for Panora Cooperative Cable Association, Inc., Christopher C.
Cinnamon, Esq., Cinnamon Mueller, 307 North Michigan Avenue,
Suite 1020, Chicago, Illinois 60601.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Joseph P. Casey
Chief, Technical and Public Safety
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
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.
9Panora Co-op notes that of the 1,338 subscribers served from
the cable system headend, 144 subscribers (in Bagley, Jamaica and
Rippey, Iowa) pay revenue to Panora Telecommunications, Inc., a
non-affiliated company under common control with Panora Co-op.
10 The waiver will extend 12 months from October 1, 2002,
until October 1, 2003. Panora Co-op also specifically requested
waiver of the testing and monitoring requirements of the EAS
rules. We clarify that the waiver we are granting also
encompasses the EAS testing and monitoring requirements.
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.