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

In the Matter of                )
                                )
North East TV Cooperative, Inc. )    File No. EB-02-TS-295
                                )    
Operator of Wireless Cable Systems in:  )
                                )
Sisseton, South Dakota          )
Willow Lake, South Dakota       )
Watertown/Kranzburg, South Dakota    )       
                                )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the     )    
Commission's Rules              )    
                                        
                              ORDER 

Adopted:  January 31, 2003              Released:   February   5, 
2003

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

1.        In this Order, we grant North East TV Cooperative, Inc. 
  (``North  East TV'')  temporary,  36-month waivers  of  Section 
  11.11(a) of  the Commission's Rules  (``Rules'') for the  three 
  above-captioned  wireless cable  television  systems.   Section 
  11.11(a)  requires wireless  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.        North East TV filed  a request for temporary,  36-month 
  waivers of  Section 11.11(a) for  the three captioned  wireless 
  cable  systems on  July  9, 2002.   In  support of  its  waiver 
  requests, North     East TV states that these are small,  rural 
  cable systems  and have few  subscribers.  Specifically,  North 
  East TV  indicates that  the Willow Lake,  South Dakota  system 
  serves  307  subscribers, the  Sisseton,  South  Dakota  system 
  serves  544  subscribers  and  the  Watertown/Kranzburg,  South 
  Dakota system  serves 580 subscribers.   Based on price  quotes 
  provided  by   EAS  equipment  manufactures,   North  East   TV 
  estimates that  it would cost  approximately $8,413 to  install 
  EAS  equipment at each  of these  systems for a  total cost  of 
  approximately $25,239.  North East TV asserts that the cost  of 
  installing  EAS   equipment  at  the   system  will  impose   a 
  substantial  financial hardship  on it  and provides  financial 
  data  for 2000  and  2001 in  support  of this  assertion.   In 
  addition,  North East  TV  submits that  its  subscribers  will 
  continue to have ready access to national EAS information  from 
  other sources,  including its wireless  cable systems.    North 
  East TV also asserts  that its subscribers will have access  to 
  EAS information through private and public weather radios.

4.        Based upon our review of  the financial data and  other 
  information submitted  by North  East TV, we  concluded that  a 
  temporary, 36-month  waiver of Section  11.11(a) for the  three 
  wireless cable systems  is warranted.9  In particular, we  find 
  that  the estimated  $25,239 cost  of EAS  equipment for  these 
  small systems  could impose  financial hardship  on North  East 
  TV. 

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  North  East  TV 
  Cooperative, Inc.  IS GRANTED  waivers of  Section 11.11(a)  of 
  the  Rules  until  October 1,  2005  for  the  three  captioned 
  wireless cable televisions systems.

7.        IT IS FURTHER ORDERED  that North East TV  Cooperative, 
  Inc. place a copy of these waivers in its systems files.

8.        IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Order  shall 
  be sent by  Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to  counsel 
  for  North East  TV Cooperative,  Inc., Pamela  L. Gist,  Esq., 
  Lukas, Nace,  Gutierrez & Sachs,  Chartered, 1111 19th  Street, 
  N.W., Suite 1200,  Washington, D.C. 20036 and Thomas F.  Burns, 
  Esq., P.O. Box 903, Watertown, South Dakota 57201. 

                         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.