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

In the Matter of                )
                                )
Buford Communications I, L.P. d/b/a  )
Alliance Communications Network )    File No. EB-02-TS-225
                                )
Operator of Cables Systems in:  )
                                )    
Greenbrier, Arkansas            )
Greensferry, Arkansas           )
Perryville, Arkansas            )
Plumerville, Arkansas           )
Marshall, Arkansas              )
Lakeview, Arkansas              )
Lee County, Arkansas            )
Coahoma, Mississippi            )
Crowder, Mississippi            )
Cherokee County, Texas          )
                                )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the     )    
Commission's Rules              )    
                                        
                              ORDER 

Adopted:  October 9, 2002               Released:   October   10, 
2002

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

1.        In this Order, we  grant Buford Communications I,  L.P. 
  (``Buford'')  d/b/a Alliance  Communications Network  temporary 
  waivers  of   Section  11.11(a)  of   the  Commission's   Rules 
  (``Rules'')  for   the  10  above-captioned  cable   television 
  systems.  Specifically,  we grant  a six-month  waiver for  the 
  Greenbrier, Arkansas  cable system  and a  36-month waiver  for 
  the Greersferry,  Arkansas; Perryville, Arkansas;  Plumerville, 
  Arkansas; Marshall,  Arkansas; Lakeview, Arkansas; Lee  County, 
  Arkansas;  Coahoma,   Mississippi;  Crowder  Mississippi;   and 
  Cherokee  County,   Texas  cable  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 audience.8

3.        Buford filed  a request  for a  permanent waiver  or  a 
  five-year  waiver of  Section  11.11(a) for  the  10  captioned 
  cable  systems on  May  29, 2002.   In  support of  its  waiver 
  request,  Buford states  that    each of  these  cable  systems 
  serve   small,  rural   communities   with  less   than   5,000 
  subscribers.   Buford  states  that  the  Greenbrier,  Arkansas 
  system  serves 2,520  subscribers and  each of  the other  nine 
  captioned cable systems serves between 96 and 886  subscribers.  
  Based on price quotes from EAS equipment manufacturers,  Buford 
  estimates that  it would cost  approximately $8,500 to  install 
  EAS equipment  at each of these  systems.  Buford asserts  that 
  this cost  will impose a substantial  financial hardship on  it 
  and  provides its  financial statements  for 2000  and 2001  in 
  support of  this assertion.  In  addition, Buford submits  that 
  its subscribers will continue to have ready access to  national 
  EAS  information  from  other  sources,  including  its   cable 
  systems.   Buford further  submits  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  Buford, we decline to grant Buford  a 
  permanent  waiver of  Section 11.11(a).   However, we  conclude 
  that a temporary, six-month waiver of Section 11.11(a) for  the 
  Greenbrier, Arkansas  cable system, and  a temporary,  36-month 
  waiver  of  Section  11.11(a)  for  each  of  the  other   nine 
  captioned  cable systems  are  warranted.9  In  particular,  we 
  find that  the $8,500 cost of EAS  equipment for each of  these 
  small  cable  systems could  impose  a  financial  hardship  on 
  Buford 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  cable 
  systems.11  

6.        Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED  that, pursuant to  Sections 
  0.111,   0.204(b)   and   0.311   of   the   Rules,12    Buford 
  Communications I,  L.P. d/b/a Alliance Communications  Network, 
  IS GRANTED  a waiver  of Section  11.11(a) of  the Rules  until 
  April 1,  2003 for the cable  television system in  Greenbrier, 
  Arkansas and  IS GRANTED a  waiver of Section  11.11(a) of  the 
  Rules until  October 1, 2005 for  the cable television  systems 
  in  Greersferry, Arkansas;  Perryville, Arkansas;  Plumerville, 
  Arkansas; Marshall,  Arkansas; Lakeview, Arkansas; Lee  County, 
  Arkansas;  Coahoma,  Mississippi;  Crowder,  Mississippi;   and 
  Cherokee County, Texas.

7.         IT IS  FURTHER ORDERED that  Buford Communications  I, 
  L.P. d/b/a  Alliance Communications  Network, 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   Buford    Communications   I,    L.P.   d/b/a    Alliance 
  Communications Network, Timothy P. Tobin, Esq., COLE, RAYWID  & 
  BRAVERMAN,  LLP,  1919  Pennsylvania  Avenue,  NW,  Suite  200, 
  Washington, DC 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 The six-month waiver will extend from October 1, 2002,  until 
April 1, 2003 and the  36-month waivers will extend from  October 
1, 2002 until October  1, 2005.  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.