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

In the Matter of                )
                                )
Farmers Co-Operative Telephone Company  )    File  No.  EB-02-TS-
185
                                )
Operator of Cable Systems in:   )
                                )    
Clutier, Iowa                   )
                                )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the     )    
Commission's Rules              )    
                                        
                              ORDER 

Adopted:  September 24, 2002            Released:  September  27, 
2002

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

      1.  In this Order, we grant Farmers Co-Operative  Telephone 
        Company (``Farmers Co-Op'') a temporary, 36-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.  Farmers Co-Op filed a request for a temporary, 36-month 
        waiver  of  Section  11.11(a)  for  the  captioned  cable 
        system  on  May  10,  2002.  In  support  of  its  waiver 
        request,  Farmers  Co-Op  states that  the  small,  rural 
        cable  system serves only 70  subscribers.  Based on  EAS 
        equipment price  quotes provided by a small cable  system 
        buying  group  to its  members, Farmers  Co-Op  estimates 
        that it  will cost between $6,000 and $12,000 to  install 
        EAS equipment at this system. Farmers 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,  Farmers 
        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, 
        Farmers Co-Op  notes that its subscribers currently  have 
        access to national EAS messages on 36% of all  programmed 
        channels.    Farmers   Co-Op  also   asserts   that   its 
        subscribers will  have access to EAS information  through 
        over-the-air reception of broadcast television and  radio 
        stations.    

      4.  Based upon our review of  the financial data and  other 
        information submitted by Farmers Co-Op, we conclude  that 
        a temporary, 36-month waiver of Section 11.11(a) for  the 
        captioned cable system is warranted.9  In particular,  we 
        find  that the estimated  $6,000 to $12,000  cost of  EAS 
        equipment  for this  small cable  system could  impose  a 
        financial hardship on Farmers Co-Op.  

      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.10  Based on  comments from  equipment 
        manufacturers,  we anticipate  that such  a  decoder-only 
        system could result in significant cost savings to  small 
        cable systems.11  

      6.  Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED  that, pursuant to  Sections 
        0.111,  0.204(b) and  0.311 of the  Rules,12 Farmers  Co-
        Operative  Telephone  Company,  IS GRANTED  a  waiver  of 
        Section 11.11(a)  of the Rules until October 1, 2005  for 
        the captioned cable television system.

      7.  IT  IS  FURTHER   ORDERED  that  Farmers   Co-Operative 
        Telephone  Company place  a copy  of this  waiver in  its 
        system files.

      8.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Order  shall 
        be  sent by  Certified Mail Return  Receipt Requested  to 
        counsel  for  Farmers  Co-Operative  Telephone   Company, 
        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 
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 The waiver will extend 36 months from October 1, 2002,  until 
October 1,  2005.   Farmers  Co-Op  also  specifically  requested 
waiver of  the testing  and monitoring  requirements of  the  EAS 
rules for  these systems.   We  clarify that  the waiver  we  are 
granting  also  encompasses  the   EAS  testing  and   monitoring 
requirements.  

  10 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).

  11 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.

  12 47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311.