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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
) File No. EB-02-TS-309
Milford Cable TV, Inc. )
Operator of Cable Systems in: )
Blairsburg, Iowa )
Milford, Iowa )
Thor, Iowa )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the )
Commission's Rules )
Adopted: January 31, 2003 Released: February 5,
By the Chief, Technical and Public Safety Division, Enforcement
1. In this Order, we grant Milford Cable TV, Inc.
(``Milford Cable'') a temporary, 12-month waiver of Section
11.11(a) of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'') for one of the
three-captioned cable television systems and temporary, 36-
month waivers of Section 11.11(a) for two of the three-
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,
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. Milford Cable filed a request for a permanent or five-
year waiver of Section 11.11(a) for the three captioned small,
rural cable systems on July 15, 2002. In support of its
waiver request, Milford Cable states that the Milford, Iowa
system serves approximately 1,058 subscribers, the Blairsburg,
Iowa system serves approximately 57 subscribers and the Thor,
Iowa system serves approximately 90 subscribers. Based on
price quotes provided by EAS equipment manufacturers, Milford
Cable estimates that it would cost at least $18,000 to install
EAS equipment at these systems. Milford Cable asserts that
this cost will impose a substantial financial hardship on it
and provides financial data for 2000 and 2001 in support of
this assertion. In addition, Milford Cable submits that its
subscribers will continue to have ready access to national EAS
information from other sources, including its cable systems.
Milford Cable further submits that 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 Milford Cable, we find that a
permanent or a five-year waiver of Section 11.11(a) is not
warranted. However, we conclude that a temporary, 12-month
waiver of Section 11.11(a) for one captioned cable system and
temporary, 36-month waivers of Section 11.11(a) for two
captioned cable systems are warranted.9 In particular, we
find that the estimated $18,000 cost of EAS equipment for
these small cable systems could impose a financial hardship on
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 Milford Cable TV,
Inc. IS GRANTED a waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the Rules
until October 1, 2003 for the Milford, Iowa cable television
system and IS GRANTED waivers of Section 11.11(a) of the Rules
until October 1, 2005 for the Blairsburg and Thor, Iowa cable
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Milford Cable TV, Inc. place
a copy of these waivers 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 Matt
Plagman, Vice President, Milford Cable, Inc., Post Office Box
163, 806 Okoboji Avenue, Milford, Iowa 51351-0163.
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 12-month waiver will extend from October 1, 2002, until
October 1, 2003 and the 36-month waiver 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
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.