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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
North American Communications Corporation ) File No. EB-02-
Operator of Cable Systems in the States of: )
Minnesota and Wisconsin )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the )
Commission's Rules )
Adopted: April 28, 2003 Released: May 2, 2003
By the Chief, Technical and Public Safety Division, Enforcement
1. In this Order, we grant North American Communications
Corporation (``North American'') temporary, 36-month waivers
of Section 11.11(a) of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'') for
27 cable television systems in the two above-captioned states.
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 September 9, 2002, North American filed a request
for temporary, 36-month waivers of Section 11.11(a) for 27
small, rural cable television systems operating in the two
captioned states. In support of its waiver request, North
American states that these 27 small, rural cable systems serve
between 32 and 667 subscribers. Based on price quotes
provided by EAS equipment manufacturers, North American
estimates that it would cost a total of $270,000 to install
EAS equipment at these cable systems. North American asserts
that the cost of installing EAS equipment at these systems
will impose a substantial financial hardship on it and
provides financial statements for 2000 and 2001 in support of
this assertion. In addition, North American submits that its
subscribers will continue to have ready access to national EAS
information from other sources, including its cable systems.
In this regard, North American notes that its subscribers
currently have access to national EAS messages on at least 50
percent of all programmed channels. North American 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 North American, we conclude that
temporary, 36-month waivers of Section 11.11(a) for 27 cable
systems in the two captioned states are warranted.9 In
particular, we find that the estimated $270,000 cost of EAS
equipment for these small cable systems could impose a
financial hardship on North American.
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
6. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections
0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311 of the Rules,12 North American
Communications Corporation IS GRANTED a waiver of Section
11.11(a) of the Rules until October 1, 2005 for the 27 cable
television systems listed in Attachment A.
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that North American
Communications Corporation place a copy of this waiver in its
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to counsel
for North American Communications Corporation, 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
North American Communications Corporation
Cable Systems: Temporary Waiver Granted
Big Falls, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Big Fork, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Bovey, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Cologne, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Delavan, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Dexter, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Easton, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Fountain, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Garden City, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Green Isle, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Hayward, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Kelliher, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Lewisville, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Madison Lake, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Mapleview, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Mayer, Minnesota October 1, 2005
New Auburn, Minnesota October 1, 2005
New Market Twp, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Ostrander, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Plato, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Racine, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Red Rock Twp, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Rose Creek, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Vernon Center, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Wells Twp, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Wykoff, Minnesota October 1, 2005
Hudson, Wisconsin October 1, 2005
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 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.