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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Northland Cable Television, Inc.) File No. EB-02-TS-467
Operator of Cable Systems in the States of: )
California, South Carolina and Texas )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the )
Commission's Rules )
Adopted: October 29, 2002 Released: November 1,
By the Chief, Technical and Public Safety Division, Enforcement
1. In this Order, we grant Northland Cable Television,
Inc. (``Northland'') temporary waivers of Section 11.11(a) of
the Commission's Rules (``Rules'') for 15 cable television
systems in the three above-captioned states. Specifically, we
grant temporary 36-month waivers of Section 11.11(a) for the
15 cable television systems in Attachment A. 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.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. Northland filed a request for a waiver or alternative a
five-year extension of time of Section 11.11(a) for the 15
small, rural cable systems in the three captioned states on
August 27, 2002. In support of its waiver request, Northland
states that these small, rural cable systems serve between 126
and 885 subscribers. Based on price quotes provided by EAS
equipment manufacturers, Northland estimates that it would
cost approximately $105,000 to install EAS equipment at these
systems. Northland 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, Northland submits that its subscribers will continue
to have ready access to national EAS information from other
sources, including its cable systems. Northland also asserts
that its subscribers will have access to EAS information
through over-the-air reception of broadcast television and
4. Based upon our review of the financial data and other
information submitted by Northland, we decline to grant
Northland a temporary, five-year waiver of Section 11.11.
However, we conclude that a temporary, 36-month waiver of
Section 11.11(a) for the 15 captions cable television systems
in Attachment A are warranted.9 In particular, we find that
the estimated $105,000 cost to install EAS equipment for these
15 systems could impose a financial hardship on Northland.
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 Northland Cable
Television, Inc. IS GRANTED waivers of Section 11.11(a) of the
Rules until October 1, 2005 for the 15 captioned cable
television systems listed in Attachment A.
7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Northland Cable Television,
Inc., place a copy of this waiver 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 Northland Cable Television, Inc., Maria T. Browne Esq.,
Cole, Raywid & Braverman, LLP, 1919 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite
200, Washington, D.C. 20006.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Joseph P. Casey
Chief, Technical and Public Safety
Northland Cable Television, Inc.
Cable Systems: Temporary Waiver Granted
Coursegold, California October 1, 2005
Fish Camp, California October 1, 2005
Lushmeadow, California October 1, 2005
Mariposa, California October 1, 2005
Five Points, South Carolina October 1, 2005
Saluda, South Carolina October 1, 2005
Buffalo, Texas October 1, 2005
Coolidge, Texas October 1, 2005
Dublin, Texas October 1, 2005
Hamilton, Texas October 1, 2005
Hico, Texas October 1, 2005
Jewett, Texas October 1, 2005
Lake Buchanan, Texas October 1, 2005
Llano, Texas October 1, 2005
Wortham, Texas October 1, 2005
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 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.