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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Millennium Digital Media Systems, L.L.C. ) File No. EB-02-
Operator of Cable Systems in: )
Union City, Michigan )
Echo Lake, Washington )
Forks, Washington )
Lake Roesinger, Washington )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the )
Commission's Rules )
Adopted: January 13, 2004 Released: January 15,
By the Director, Office of Homeland Security, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Order, we grant the request of Millennium
Digital Media Systems, L.L.C. (``Millennium'') to extend the
temporary, 12-month waivers of Section 11.11(a) of the
Commission's Rules (``Rules'') previously granted for the four
above-captioned cable television systems.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,
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
3. On May 23, 2002, Millennium filed a request for
temporary, 36 month waivers of Section 11.11(a) of the Rules
for 32 small rural cable systems operating in the states of
Idaho, Michigan, Oregon and Washington. In its waiver
request, Millennium stated that six of the cable systems
served between 1,071 and 1603 subscribers and 26 of the cable
systems served between 37 and 976 subscribers. In support of
its waiver request, Millennium estimated that it would cost a
total of $320,000 to install EAS equipment at the 32 cable
systems. Millennium asserted that the cost to install EAS
equipment at each of the cable systems would impose a
substantial financial hardship on it. On October 10, 2002, we
granted Millennium temporary, 36-month waivers for 26 cable
television systems and temporary, 12-month waivers of Section
11.11(a) for six cable systems.8 We concluded that the
financial data and other information submitted by Millennium
did not justify a waiver period of longer duration for the six
cable systems which included the four captioned cable systems.
4. On September 30, 2003, Millennium filed a request for
temporary extensions to the 12-month waivers granted in the
Waiver Order for the four captioned cable systems.
Specifically, Millennium requests 24-month waiver extensions
for the Forks and Union City cable systems and 12-month waiver
extensions for the Echo Lake and Lake Roesinger systems.
Millennium states that the extensions of the existing waivers
are warranted due to its continuing financial hardship and its
significant loss of customers over year 2002. Millennium
asserts that the four cable systems lost from nine to 21
percent of their subscribers. Millennium also submits updated
financial data for these cable systems.
5. Based on the additional financial data submitted by
Millennium, we conclude that extensions of the temporary, 12-
month waivers of Section 11.11(a) of the Rules granted to
Millennium for the four cable systems are warranted.9
Nevertheless, we remind Millennium that the Commission has
authorized cable systems serving fewer than 5,000 subscribers
to install FCC certified decoder-only units, rather than both
encoders and decoders.10 Such decoder-only units are
available at a substantially lower cost.11
6. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections
0.111, 0.204(b), 0.311 of the Rules,12 Millennium Digital
Media Systems, L.L.C. IS GRANTED a waiver of Section 11.11(a)
of the Rules until October 1, 2004 for the Echo Lake and Lake
Roesinger, Washington cable television systems and IS GRANTED
a waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the Rules until October 1,
2005 for the Union City, Michigan and Forks, Washington cable
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Millennium Digital Media
Systems, L.L.C. place a copy of this waiver extension in its
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to counsel
for Millennium Digital Media Systems, L.L.C., 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
1 Millennium Digital Media Systems, L.L.C., 17 FCC Rcd 19434
(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).
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 19434.
9 The 12-month temporary waivers will extend from October 1,
2003, until October 1, 2004 and the 24-month 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.
10 Amendment of Part 11 of the Commission's Rules Regarding
the Emergency Alert System, Report and Order, EB Docket No. 01-
66, 17 FCC Rcd 4055 (2002).
11 Three manufacturers have received equipment certifications
from the Commission for decoder-only units. See
www.fcc.gov/eb/eas/certsel.html. See also Public Notice, Notice
Regarding FCC Certification of EAS Decoder, DA 02-2312 (September
19, 2002). EAS decoders have been advertised at a cost of
12 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.204(b), 0.311.