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

In the Matter of                )
                                )
Great Plains Cable Television, Inc.  )       File  No.  EB-02-TS-
209
                                )
Operator of Cable Systems in:   )
                                )
Elgin, Nebraska                 )
Grant, Nebraska                 )
                                )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the     )    
Commission's Rules              )    
                                        
                              ORDER 


Adopted:  January 8, 2004               Released:   January   12, 
2004

By the Director, Office of Homeland Security, Enforcement Bureau:

1.        In this Order,  we grant  the request  of Great  Plains 
  Cable  Television,  Inc.  (``Great  Plains'')  to  extend   the 
  temporary,  12-month  waivers   of  Section  11.11(a)  of   the 
  Commission's Rules (``Rules'')  previously granted for the  two 
  above-captioned cable television  systems for an additional  24 
  months.1   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, 2002.2 

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.3  In 1994, the Commission adopted rules  requiring 
  cable systems to participate in EAS.4  In 1997, the  Commission 
  amended the  EAS rules  to provide financial  relief for  small 
  cable systems.5  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).6    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.7  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.

3.        On May  23,  2002, Great  Plains  filed a  request  for 
  temporary  waivers of  Section 11.11(a)  of  the Rules  for  10 
  small rural  cable systems in  the state of  Nebraska.  In  its 
  waiver  request, among  other  things, Great  Plains  requested 
  temporary,  24-month waivers  for  the Elgin  and  Grant  cable 
  systems  which    served approximately  1,093  subscribers  and 
  1,546  subscribers, respectively.   In  support of  its  waiver 
  request, Great Plains asserted that the estimated $10,000  cost 
  to install  EAS equipment at  each of the  cable systems  would 
  impose a substantial  financial hardship on it.  On October  4, 
  2002, we  granted Great Plains  temporary, 12-month waivers  of 
  Section 11.11(a)  for the Elgin and  Grant cable systems.8   We 
  concluded  that  the  financial  data  and  other   information 
  submitted  by Great  Plains  at that  time  did not  justify  a 
  waiver period of longer duration for these two cable systems.  

4.        On September 30, 2003, Great Plains filed a request for 
  a  temporary, 24-month  extension  of the  temporary,  12-month 
  waivers granted  in the Waiver  Order for the  Elgin and  Grant 
  cable  systems.  Great  Plains asserts  that extension  of  the 
  waivers  is appropriate  because it  already provides  national 
  and  local   emergency  messages   to  its   Elgin  and   Grant 
  subscribers  through  its  Safety  Alert  Monitoring  (``SAM'') 
  system.9   Great Plains  states that  the SAM  system  receives 
  national  EAS messages  from EAS  decoders10 installed  at  the 
  Elgin and Grant headends and receives local emergency  messages 
  from  local  officials via  telephone  and  from  the  National 
  Weather Service.  Whenever an emergency message is received  by 
  the SAM system, a  set-top box at the subscriber's home,  which 
  Great  Plains provides  to its  subscribers free  of  charge,11 
  emits a loud alarm and provides a visual alert (a flashing  red 
  light).  Great  Plains states that the  SAM system is  critical 
  in tornado-prone Nebraska because it sounds an alert even  when 
  a subscriber's television is turned off, such as at night  when 
  subscribers  are asleep.   In  addition, Great  Plains  asserts 
  that  extension  of  the  waivers  is  warranted  because   its 
  financial hardship has continued.  Great Plains estimates  that 
  it  will  cost  approximately  $13,000  to  install  the  video 
  interrupt  equipment  needed to  bring  the  two  systems  into 
  compliance   with  Section   11.11(a)  and   provides   updated 
  financial  data for  2003 in  support of  its claim  that  this 
  expense  would cause  a substantial  financial hardship  unless 
  distributed over  a longer period of  time.  Great Plains  also 
  states  that its  declining  customer base  has  increased  its 
  financial hardship.   In this regard,  Great Plains notes  that 
  over the past year it has lost nearly 3% of its subscribers  on 
  the Elgin and Grant systems, which now serve 1,078  subscribers 
  and 1,494 subscribers, respectively.  

5.        Based on  the additional  financial data  submitted  by 
  Great  Plains, and in  view of  the fact that  Great Plains  is 
  providing  national  and   local  emergency  messages  to   its 
  subscribers through its  SAM system, we conclude that  24-month 
  extensions  of  the  temporary  waivers  of  Section   11.11(a) 
  granted  to Great  Plains are  warranted.12  We  note, in  this 
  regard, that  the Commission has  acknowledged the benefits  of 
  the  SAM system  as an  emergency  alerting mechanism  for  the 
  hard-of-hearing and deaf  communities.13  We believe that  this 
  system can  also provide substantial benefits  in areas of  the 
  country, such  as the areas served  by Great Plains, which  are 
  prone to tornadoes and other severe weather emergencies.

6.        Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED  that, pursuant to  Sections 
  0.111,  0.204(b), 0.311  of  the Rules,14  Great  Plains  Cable 
  Television,  Inc. IS  GRANTED  a waiver  extension  of  Section 
  11.11(a) of the Rules  until October 1, 2005 for the Elgin  and 
  Grant, Nebraska cable television systems. 

7.        IT  IS  FURTHER   ORDERED  that   Great  Plains   Cable 
  Television, Inc. place a  copy of this waiver extension 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  counsel 
  for  Great  Plains   Cable  Television  Inc.,  Christopher   C. 
  Cinnamon, Esq.,  Cinnamon Mueller, 307  North Michigan  Avenue, 
  Suite 1020, Chicago, Illinois 60601. 

                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
                         


                         James A. Dailey
                         Director, Office of Homeland Security
                         Enforcement Bureau
_________________________

  1 Great Plains Cable  Television, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd 19043  (Enf. 
Bur., Tech. & Pub. Safety Div., 2002) (``Waiver Order'').

  2 47 C.F.R.  11.11(a).

  3 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).  

  4 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), reconsideration  granted in  part, 
denied in part, 10 FCC Rcd 11494 (1995) (``Report and Order'').

  5 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).

  6 Id. at 15512-13.

  7 Id. at 15516-15518.

  8 17 FCC Rcd at 19043.

  9 Great Plains notes that it did not mention the SAM system  in 
its previous waiver request.
  10  The EAS  decoders installed  at  Great Plains's  Elgin  and 
Grant headends are not capable of providing video interrupts.  
  11  Great  Plains  states  that  the  set-top  boxes  cost   it 
approximately $46 each.
  12 These  temporary waivers  will extend from  October 1,  2003 
until October  1,  2005.  We  clarify  that the  waivers  we  are 
granting  also   encompass  the   EAS  testing   and   monitoring 
requirements.  

  13 Report and Order,  10 FCC Rcd at 1807-1808 (``Cable  systems 
must therefore provide either audio and video EAS messages on all 
channels or an equivalent alerting function on the entire  system 
for  deaf  or  hard-of-hearing  persons.   The  requirement   for 
equivalent messaging can be implemented using independent set-top 
alerting  devices  which  are  turned  on  by  EAS  equipment  at 
headends.'')

  14 47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.204(b), 0.311.