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                                   Before the

                       Federal Communications Commission

                             Washington, D.C. 20554

     In the Matter of               )   File No. EB-11-AT-0001      
     Comcast of Alabama, Inc.       )   NAL/Acct. No. 201132480003  
     Cable system in Florence, AL   )   FRN 0003251717              


   Adopted: June 6, 2011 Released: June 7, 2011

   By the District Director, Atlanta Office, South Central Region,
   Enforcement Bureau:


   1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
   that Comcast of Alabama, Inc., ("Comcast"), operator of a cable television
   system in Florence, Alabama, apparently willfully and repeatedly  violated
   sections 11.35(a) and 11.51(h) of the Commission's rules ("Rules") by
   failing to ensure that emergency alerts system ("EAS") messages were
   transmitted properly to certain customers. We conclude that Comcast is
   apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of sixteen thousand
   dollars ($16,000).


   2. On January 3, 2011, the Enforcement Bureau's Atlanta Office ("Atlanta
   Office") received a complaint that a Comcast customer in Florence, Alabama
   did not receive a transmitted EAS alert during an actual emergency. On
   January 4, 2011, an agent from the Atlanta Office contacted Comcast about
   the complaint. On February 23, 2011, the Atlanta Office issued a Letter of
   Inquiry ("LOI") to Comcast to determine why the alert was not received by
   the customer.

   3. In a reply to the LOI, Comcast admitted that two classes of customers
   in the Florence system failed to receive EAS visual and audio message for
   slightly more than 7 months and 4 months, respectively, in parts of 2010
   and 2011. Comcast was, however, passing through the EAS alerts for the
   Florence system, and the majority of customers would have received the
   alerts. Comcast attributed the failure to employee mistakes in configuring
   headend equipment during a digital upgrade for the Florence system.
   Comcast stated that it did conduct weekly and monthly EAS tests during
   this period, but its technicians observed the weekly and monthly EAS tests
   on equipment not impacted by the error and were unaware of the problem
   until January 4, 2011. The error was corrected on January 5, 2011, and all
   customers in the Florence system can now receive EAS alerts.


   5. Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"),
   provides that any person who willfully or repeatedly fails to comply
   substantially with the terms and conditions of any license, or willfully
   or repeatedly fails to comply with any of the provisions of the Act or of
   any rule, regulation or order issued by the Commission thereunder, shall
   be liable for a forfeiture penalty. Section 312(f)(1) of the Act defines
   willful as the "conscious and deliberate commission or omission of [any]
   act, irrespective of any intent to violate" the law. The legislative
   history to section 312(f)(1) of the Act clarifies that this definition of
   willful applies to both section 312 and 503(b) of the Act and the
   Commission has so interpreted the term in the section 503(b) context.  The
   Commission may also assess a forfeiture for violations that are merely
   repeated, and not willful.  The term "repeated" means the commission or
   omission of such act more than once or for more than one day.

   6. Every analog and digital cable system is part of the nationwide EAS
   network and is categorized as a participating national EAS source unless
   the system affirmatively requests authority to refrain from participation,
   and that request is approved by the Commission. The EAS enables the
   President and state and local governments to provide immediate and
   emergency communications and information to the general public.  State and
   local area plans identify local primary sources responsible for
   coordinating carriage of common emergency messages from sources such as
   the National Weather Service or local emergency management officials.
    Required monthly and weekly tests originate from EAS Local or State
   Primary sources and must be retransmitted by the participating station. As
   the nation's emergency warning system, the Emergency Alert System is
   critical to public safety, and we recognize the vital role that regulatees
   play in ensuring its success. The Commission takes seriously any
   violations of the Rules implementing the EAS and expects full compliance
   from its regulatees.  

   7. Section 11.35(a) of the Rules requires all EAS participants to ensure
   that EAS encoders, EAS decoders, and attention signal generating and
   receiving equipment are installed so that the monitoring and transmitting
   functions are available during the times the systems are in operation.
   Section 11.51(h) of the Rules requires analog and digital cable systems to
   transmit required EAS audio and visual messages on all downstream
   channels. Digital cable systems may comply with this requirement by using
   a means on all programmed channels that automatically tunes the
   subscriber's set-top box to a pre-designated channel which carries the
   required audio and video EAS messages. Although Comcast had working EAS
   encoders and decoders installed at its cable headend, Comcast admits that
   two classes of customers served by the Florence, Alabama system were
   unable to receive EAS visual and audio messages for several months in 2010
   and 2011. Comcast admits that it failed to properly configure headend
   equipment such that this subset of customers was unable to access the EAS
   messaging channel. Therefore, for these customers, Comcast's EAS equipment
   was effectively non-existent. Because Comcast consciously operated its
   system and that system's EAS was not functioning properly for all
   customers, we find the apparent violation to be willful. Because Comcast
   failed to maintain fully operational EAS on more than one day, we find the
   apparent violation to be repeated. Based on the evidence before us, we
   find that Comcast  apparently willfully and repeatedly violated sections
   11.35(a) and 11.51(h) of the Rules by failing to ensure that its EAS
   equipment was fully functional for all customers.

   9. Pursuant to the Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and section
   1.80 of the Rules, the base forfeiture amount for EAS equipment not
   installed or operational is $8,000. In assessing the monetary forfeiture
   amount, we must also take into account the statutory factors set forth in
   section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, which include the nature, circumstances,
   extent, and gravity of the violations, and with respect to the violator,
   the degree of culpability, and history of prior offenses, ability to pay,
   and other such matters as justice may require. We recognize that Comcast
   is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. To ensure that forfeiture liability
   is a deterrent and not simply a cost of doing business, the Commission has
   determined that large or highly-profitable companies, such as Comcast,
   should expect the assessment of higher forfeitures for violations.  Based
   on these factors, we find that $8,000 (to $16,000) is an appropriate
   upward adjustment for Comcast's apparent violations. Applying the
   Forfeiture Policy Statement, section 1.80 of the Rules, and the statutory
   factors to the instant case, we conclude that Comcast  is apparently
   liable for a $16,000 forfeiture.


   10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to section 503(b) of the
   Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and sections 0.111, 0.204, 0.311,
   0.314 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, Comcast of Alabama, Inc., is
   of sixteen  thousand dollars ($16,000) for violations of sections 11.35(a)
   and 11.51(h) of the Rules.

   11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to section 1.80 of the
   Commission's Rules within thirty days of the release date of this Notice
   of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, Comcast of Alabama, Inc. SHALL PAY
   the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written
   statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.

   12. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by credit card, check or
   similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal Communications
   Commission. The payment must include the Account Number and FRN Number
   referenced above. Payment by check or money order may be mailed to Federal
   Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000.
   Payment by overnight mail may be sent to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox
   #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment
   by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank
   TREAS/NYC, and account number 27000001. For payment by credit card, an FCC
   Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be submitted.  When completing the FCC
   Form 159, enter the NAL/Account number in block number 23A (call
   sign/other ID), and enter the letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment
   type code). Requests for full payment under an installment plan should be
   sent to:  Chief Financial Officer -- Financial Operations, 445 12th
   Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C.  20554.8   If you have
   questions regarding payment procedures, please contact the Financial
   Operations Group Help Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email: If payment is made, Comcast  will send electronic
   notification on the date said payment is made to

   13. The written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the
   proposed forfeiture, if any, must include a detailed factual statement
   supported by appropriate documentation and affidavits pursuant to sections
   1.80(f)(3) and 1.16 of the Rules. Comcast shall mail the written statement
   to Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, South Central
   Region, Atlanta Office,  3575 Koger Blvd, Suite 320, Duluth, GA, 30096 and
   include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption. Comcast also shall
   email the written response to

   14. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
   response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner submits: (1)
   federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2) financial
   statements prepared according to generally accepted accounting practices
   ("GAAP"); or (3) some other reliable and objective documentation that
   accurately reflects the petitioner's current financial status. Any claim
   of inability to pay must specifically identify the basis for the claim by
   reference to the financial documentation submitted.

   15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
   for Forfeiture shall be sent by both Certified Mail, Return Receipt
   Requested, and regular mail, to Comcast of Alabama, Inc. at One Comcast
   Center, Philadelphia, PA 19103.


   Douglas G. Miller

   District Director

   Atlanta Office

   South Central  Region

   Enforcement Bureau

   47 C.F.R. S:S: 11.35(a), 11.51(h).

   See Letter from Douglas G. Miller, District Director, Atlanta Office, to
   Comcast Cable of Alabama, Inc., February 23, 2011.

   See Letter from Catherine Fox, Senior Counsel, Comcast Cable
   Communications, LLC, to Douglas G. Miller, District Director, Atlanta
   Office, March 16, 2011, at 4 ("Comcast LOI Response"). Comcast requested
   confidential treatment for the entire response to the LOI. Comcast
   subsequently limited its request for confidential treatment. See Email
   from Catherine Fox, Senior Counsel, Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, to
   Diane Law-Hsu, Regional Counsel, South Central Region, May 25, 2011.





   47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).

   47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1).

   H.R. Rep. No. 97-765, 97th Cong. 2d Sess. 51 (1982) ("This provision
   [inserted in section 312] defines the terms `willful' and `repeated' for
   purposes of section 312, and for any other relevant section of the act
   (e.g., section 503).... As defined ... `willful' means that the licensee
   knew that he was doing the act in question, regardless of whether there
   was an intent to violate the law. `Repeated' means more than once, or
   where the act is continuous, for more than one day. Whether an act is
   considered to be `continuous' would depend upon the circumstances in each
   case. The definitions are intended primarily to clarify the language in
   sections 312 and 503, and are consistent with the Commission's application
   of those terms ...").

   See, e.g., Application for Review of Southern California Broadcasting Co.,
   Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991) ("Southern
   California Broadcasting Co.").

   See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
   Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359, 1362 P: 10 (2001) ("Callais
   Cablevision, Inc.") (proposing a forfeiture for, inter alia, a cable
   television operator's repeated signal leakage).

   Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(2), which also applies
   to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under section 503(b) of
   the Act, provides that "[t]he term 'repeated', when used with reference to
   the commission or omission of any act, means the commission or omission of
   such act more than once or, if such commission or omission is continuous,
   for more than one day."

   47 C.F.R. S:S: 11.11, 11.41.

   47 C.F.R. S:S: 11.1, 11.21.

   47 C.F.R. S: 11.18.  State EAS plans contain guidelines that must be
   followed by broadcast and cable personnel, emergency officials and
   National Weather Service personnel to activate the EAS for state and local
   emergency alerts.  The state plans include the EAS header codes and
   messages to be transmitted by the primary state, local and relay EAS

   47 C.F.R. S: 11.35(a).

   47 C.F.R. S: 11.51(h).

   47 C.F.R. S: 11.51(h)(5).

   The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80
   of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, Report and Order,
   12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997) ("Forfeiture Policy Statement"), recon. denied, 15
   FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80.

   47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(E).

   Currently, Comcast is ranked 59 on the Fortune 500 list of Largest
   American Corporations, with reported revenues of more than $35.7 billion.
   (last visited April 8, 2011).

   See Forfeiture Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17099-100 (cautioning all
   entities and individuals that, independent from the uniform base
   forfeiture amounts, the Commission will take into account the subject
   violator's ability to pay in determining the amount of a forfeiture to
   guarantee that forfeitures issued against large or highly profitable
   entities are not considered merely an affordable cost of doing business,
   and noting that such large or highly profitable entities should expect
   that the forfeiture amount set out in a Notice of Apparent Liability
   against them may in many cases be above, or even well above, the relevant
   base amount).

   47 U.S.C. S: 503(b), 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80,
   11.35(a), 11.51(h).

   8 See 47 C.F.R. S: 1.1914.

   (...continued from previous page)


   Federal Communications Commission DA 11-982


   Federal Communications Commission DA 11-982