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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Bayou Cable, Inc. ) File No. EB-02-TS-082
Operator of Cable Systems in: )
Huttig, Arkansas )
Strong, Arkansas )
Marion, Louisiana )
Rocky Branch, Louisiana )
Sterlington, Louisiana )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the )
Commission's Rules )
Adopted: June 19, 2002 Released: June 24, 2002
By the Chief, Technical and Public Safety Division, Enforcement
1. In this Order, we grant Bayou Cable, Inc. (``Bayou
Cable'') temporary waivers of Section 11.11(a) of the
Commission's Rules (``Rules'') for the five above-captioned
cable television systems. Specifically, we grant a temporary,
24-month waiver of Section 11.11(a) for the Sterlington,
Louisiana system and temporary, 36-month waivers of Section
11.11(a) for the Huttig, Arkansas; Strong, Arkansas; Marion,
Louisiana, and Rocky Branch, Louisiana systems. 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. Bayou Cable filed a request for temporary waiver of
Section 11.11(a) for the five captioned cable systems on March
4, 2002. Bayou Cable seeks a 24-month waiver for the
Sterlington, Louisiana system and a 36-month waiver for the
Huttig, Arkansas; Strong, Arkansas; Marion, Louisiana; and
Rocky Branch, Louisiana systems. In support of its waiver
request, Bayou Cable states that these are small cable systems
with Sterlington serving 603 subscribers, Strong serving 319
subscribers, Huttig serving 284 subscribers, Marion serving
255 subscribers, and Rocky Branch serving 201 subscribers.
Based on price quotes provided by EAS equipment manufacturers,
Bayou Cable estimates that it would cost approximately $11,000
to install EAS equipment at each of these systems for a total
cost of $55,000. Bayou asserts that this cost will impose a
substantial financial hardship on it and provides its
financial statement for 2001 in support of this assertion. In
addition, Bayou submits that its subscribers will continue to
have ready access to national EAS information from other
sources, including its cable systems. In this regard, Bayou
Cable notes that its subscribers currently have access to
national EAS messages on at least one half of all programmed
channels. Bayou Cable also asserts that its subscribers will
have access to EAS information through over-the-air reception
of broadcast television and radio stations.
4. Based upon our review of the financial data and other
information submitted by Bayou Cable, we conclude that a
temporary, 24-month waiver of Section 11.11(a) for the
Sterlington, Louisiana system and temporary, 36-month waivers
of Section 11.11(a) for the Huttig, Arkansas; Marion,
Louisiana; Rocky Branch, Louisiana, and the Strong, Arkansas
system is warranted.9 In particular, we find that the
estimated $55,000 cost of EAS equipment for these small cable
systems could impose a financial hardship on Bayou Cable.
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
6. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections
0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311 of the Rules,12 Bayou Cable, Inc. IS
GRANTED a waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the Rules until
October 1, 2004 for its Sterlington, Louisiana cable system
and IS GRANTED a waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the Rules until
October 1, 2005 for its Huttig, Arkansas; Strong, Arkansas;
Marion, Louisiana and Rocky Branch, Louisiana cable systems.
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Bayou Cable, Inc. place a
copy of this waiver 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 Bayou Cable, Inc., Christopher C. Cinnamon, Esq., Cinnamon
Mueller, 307 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1020, Chicago,
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 for the Sterlington, Louisiana system will extend
24 months from October 1, 2002, until October 1, 2004 and the
waiver for the Huttig, Arkansas; Strong, Arkansas; Marion,
Louisiana and Rocky Branch, Louisiana systems will extend 36
months from October 1, 2002, until October 1, 2005. Bayou Cable
specifically requested a waiver of the testing and monitoring
requirements of the EAS rules for these two systems. 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.