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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Hart Cable, Inc. ) File No. EB-02-TS-212
Operator of Cable Systems in: )
New Hope, Georgia )
West Franklin, Georgia )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the )
Commission's Rules )
Adopted: September 27, 2002 Released: October 4,
By the Chief, Technical and Public Safety Division, Enforcement
1. In this Order, we grant Hart Cable, Inc., (``Hart
Cable'') temporary, 36-month waivers of Section 11.11(a)
of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'') for the two above-
captioned cable television systems. 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
3. Hart Cable filed a request for temporary, 36-month
waivers of Section 11.11(a) for the two captioned cable
systems on May 24, 2002. In support of its waiver
request, Hart Cable states that the two systems are
small, rural cable systems serving a total of
approximately 804 subscribers. Specifically, Hart Cable
indicates that New Hope, Georgia serves 710 subscribers
and West Franklin serves 94 subscribers. Based on a
price quote provided by an EAS equipment manufacturer,
Hart Cable estimates that it would cost approximately
$10,000 per headend, for a total of $20,000 for the two
headends. Hart Cable 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, Hart Cable submits that its
subscribers will continue to have ready access to
national EAS information from other sources, including
its cable systems. In this regard, Hart Cable notes
that its subscribers currently have access to national
EAS messages on 21 of all programmed channels. Hart
Cable 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 Hart Cable, we conclude that a
temporary, 36 month waiver of Section 11.11(a) for the
two cable systems is warranted 9 In particular, we find
that the estimated $20,000 cost to install EAS equipment
for these very small systems could impose a financial
hardship on Hart Cable.
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
6. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections
0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311 of the Rules,12 Hart Cable,
Inc. IS GRANTED a waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the
Rules until October 1, 2005 for the two captioned cable
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Hart Cable, Inc. 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 Hart Cable, 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.
9 The waivers will extend 36 months from October 1, 2002,
until October 1, 2005. Hart Cable also specifically requested
waiver of the testing and monitoring requirements of the EAS
rules. We clarify that the waivers we are granting also
encompass 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.