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

In the Matter of                )
                                )
Tip Top Communications          )  File No. EB-02-TS-314
                                )
Operator of Cable Systems:      )
                                )
Dow City, Iowa                  )
Dunlap, Iowa                    )
Schleswig, Iowa                 )
Vail, Iowa                      )    
                                )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the     )    
Commission's Rules              )    
                                        
                              ORDER 

Adopted:  April 16, 2002                Released:  April 21, 2003

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


1.        In this Order, we  grant Tip Top Communications  (``Tip 
  Top'') temporary, 36-month  waivers of Section 11.11(a) of  the 
  Commission's  Rules (``Rules'')  for the  four  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 audience.8

3.        On July 17, 2002, Tip Top filed a request for permanent 
  or  five-year  waivers   of  Section  11.11(a)  for  the   four 
  captioned cable systems. In support of its waiver request,  Tip 
  Top  states  that  each of  the  systems  serves  small,  rural 
  communities and has between 167 and 406 subscribers.  Based  on 
  price quotes provided  by EAS equipment manufacturers, Tip  Top 
  estimates that  it would  cost between $32,000  and $40,000  to 
  install EAS  equipment at these systems.  Tip Top asserts  that 
  the  cost of  installing  EAS  equipment at  the  systems  will 
  impose  a substantial  financial hardship  on it  and  provides 
  financial  statements for  2000 and  2001  in support  of  this 
  assertion.  In addition,  Tip Top submits that its  subscribers 
  will continue to have ready access to national EAS  information 
  from other sources,  including its cable systems. Tip Top  also 
  asserts  that   its  subscribers  will   have  access  to   EAS 
  information   through  over-the-air   reception  of   broadcast 
  television and radio stations and other sources.  

4.        Based upon our review of  the financial data and  other 
  information submitted  by Tip  Top, we find  that permanent  or 
  five-year waivers  of Section 11/11(a)  for the four  captioned 
  cable systems  are not  warranted.  However,  we conclude  that 
  temporary,  36-month  waivers of  Section  11.11(a)  for  these 
  systems  are  warranted.9  In  particular,  we  find  that  the 
  estimated $32,000  plus cost of EAS  equipment for these  small 
  cable systems could impose financial hardship on Tip Top.  

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   Tip   Top 
  Communications IS  GRANTED waivers of  Section 11.11(a) of  the 
  Rules  until October  1,  2005  for the  four  captioned  cable 
  television systems.

7.        IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Tip Top Communications 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  Lois 
  Schroeder,  Manager,  Tip  Top  Communications,  P.O.  Box   7, 
  Arcadia, Iowa 51430.

                         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  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.