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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
NEPSK, Inc. d/b/a Houlton Cable TV ) File No. EB-02-TS-569
Operator of Cable System in: )
Houlton, Maine )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the )
Commission's Rules )
Adopted: July 1, 2003 Released: July 11, 2003
By the Chief, Technical and Public Safety Division, Enforcement
1. In this Order, we grant NEPSK Inc. d/b/a Houlton Cable
TV (``Houlton Cable'') a temporary, 12-month waiver of Section
11.11(a) of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'') for above-
captioned cable television system. 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. Houlton Cable filed a supplemental request for a
temporary, 12-month waiver of Section 11.11(a) for the
captioned cable system on September 26, 2002. In support of
its waiver request, Houlton Cable states that it did not seek
a waiver for its 1,824 subscriber Houlton, Maine system in its
May 24, 2002 waiver request because it was attempting to fund
a system upgrade, which included the installation of EAS
equipment. Houlton Cable asserts that it was not able to fund
the upgrade on schedule due to costly litigation over its
renewal franchise proposal with the Town of Houlton. In this
regard, Houlton Cable states that it resumed negotiations with
the Town of Houlton and anticipates that its franchise could
be renewed in October 2002. Houlton Cable asserts that it is
not technically possible to install the new EAS equipment
before installing the new upgrade equipment. In addition,
Houlton 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, Houlton
Cable notes that its subscribers currently have access to
national EAS messages on at least 18 programmed channels.
Houlton Cable 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.
Finally, Houlton Cable believes that it can install the
equipment upgrades and EAS equipment within the next year.
4. Based upon our review of the financial data and other
information submitted by Houlton Cable, we conclude that a
temporary, 12-month waiver of Section 11.11(a) is warranted.9
5. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections
0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311 of the Rules,10 NEPSK, Inc. d/b/a
Houlton Cable TV IS GRANTED a waiver of Section 11.11(a) of
the Rules until October 1, 2003.
6. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that NEPSK, Inc. d/b/a Houlton
Cable TV place a copy of this waiver in its system file.
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to counsel
for NEPSK, Inc. d/b/a Houlton Cable TV, 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 waiver will extend from October 1, 2002, until October
1, 2003. We clarify that the waiver we are granting also
encompasses the EAS testing and monitoring requirements.
10 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311.