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                           Before the
                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              )    
                                        
                              ORDER 

Adopted:  July 1, 2003                  Released:  July 11, 2003

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

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, 
  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.        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 
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  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.