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American Cable Association Petition for Reconsideration

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Released: May 25, 2012

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-834

Release Date: May 25, 2012

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION RECEIVES PETITION FILED BY

AMERICAN CABLE ASSOCIATION FOR PARTIAL RECONSIDERATION OF THE

COMMISSION’S EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM FIFTH REPORT AND ORDER;

ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE FOR PLEADING CYCLE

EB Docket No. 04-296

Oppositions/Comments Due: [15 days from date of Federal Register Publication]
Replies Due: [25 days from date of Federal Register Publication]

On April 23, 2012, the Federal Communication Commission (Commission) received a petition
filed by the American Cable Association1 (ACA) for partial reconsideration of that portion of the
Commission’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) Fifth Report and Order2 “requiring operators of cable
systems lacking physical … broadband Internet connections to seek waivers under the Commission’s
standard procedures.”3 ACA proposes that the Commission establish a streamlined waiver process for
cable systems that serve less than 501 subscribers, subject to a showing of compliance with specified
conditions, and that waivers obtained through this process last at least one year.4 By this Public Notice,
the Commission establishes a pleading cycle for oppositions and replies in response to the petition as
indicated above. In addition, the Commission invites comment on a number of specific questions related
to the petition as described below.

Background

The Fifth Report and Order will require all EAS Participants to convert EAS messages formatted
in the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) into messages that comply with EAS Protocol requirements, and
to monitor the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System


1 American Cable Association Petition for Reconsideration, EB Docket No. 04-296 (filed April 20, 2012) (ACA
Petition).
2 Review of the Emergency Alert System; Independent Spanish Broadcasters Association, the Office of
Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc., and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council,
Petition for Immediate Relief; Randy Gehman Petition for Rulemaking, EB Docket 04-296, Fifth Report and Order,
27 FCC Rcd 642 (2012) (Fifth Report and Order).
3 ACA Petition at 1. ACA’s petition was timely filed. See 47 U.S.C. § 405; 47 C.F.R. § 1.429(d); 77 Fed. Reg.
16688-01 (Mar. 22, 2012).
4 ACA Petition at 1.

(IPAWS) for federal CAP-formatted alert messages using whatever interface technology is appropriate.5
The Commission noted that “the primary method of distributing CAP messages will be via a broadband
Internet connection.”6 Accordingly, the Commission also decided in the Fifth Report and Order that “the
physical unavailability of a broadband Internet service offers a presumption in favor of a waiver.”7 The
Commission noted that this presumption would primarily benefit smaller EAS Participants, for whom
obtaining CAP capable EAS equipment would be a relatively larger financial commitment.8 However,
the Commission also determined that such a waiver “likely would not exceed six months,” with an option
of renewal, given that broadband Internet access “may become available at some point after a waiver has
been granted, and that alternate means of distributing CAP alert messages, such as satellite delivery, may
also become available.”9
In its Petition, ACA argues that the Commission’s foregoing presumption would “not provide
meaningful relief for … small operators” due to the “need to devote significant administrative resources
to preparing waiver requests.”10 ACA argues that to ameliorate this concern the Commission should
implement an streamlined waiver process for systems serving fewer than 501 subscribers, requiring a
“waiver request certification …signed by a company representative or officer responsible for its
truthfulness, [which] should include the following: …
·
A statement that the cable operator currently does not have physical access to a wireline
broadband connection at the system head-end.
·
A statement that obtaining physical access to a wireline broadband connection would require
costs in excess of a provider’s normal installation drop fee (i.e. special construction costs or line
extension fees).”11
ACA argues that “[w]aivers granted pursuant to this process should be granted for at least a period of one
year, with renewal years available, or until the operator: (i) obtains broadband Internet service at the
system headend; or (ii) can obtain broadband Internet service without incurring additional construction or
set-up fees, such as line extension charges.”12

Discussion

We seek comment on ACA’s Petition. We also seek comment on several specific issues. First,
we note that the Commission’s Fifth Report and Order nowhere states that a wireline broadband
connection is necessary to comply with the Commission’s requirement that EAS Participants be able to


5 Fifth Report and Order at ¶ 4.
6 Id. at ¶ 152.
7 Id.
8 Id.
9 Id.
10 ACA Petition at 4.
11 Id. at 7.
12 Id. at 8.
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receive CAP-formatted alerts by June 30, 2012.13 Accordingly, we seek comment whether any
presumption in favor of granting a waiver based on lack of physical access to broadband should be
limited to an EAS Participant’s lack of physical access to a wireline broadband connection, as ACA
requests. Stated differently, would an EAS Participant’s physical access to, for example, a wireless or
satellite broadband connection provide sufficient bandwidth for purposes of complying with the relevant
requirements of the Fifth Report and Order?
We also seek comment on ACA’s suggestion that the Commission should, at least in part,
consider the costs to EAS Participants of obtaining broadband Internet access service when assessing
whether to grant waiver relief. If so, how should the Commission weigh such cost in this assessment?
For example, ACA requests that the Commission waive CAP compliance for cable systems serving fewer
than 501 subscribers if the cost of broadband access is “in excess of a provider’s normal installation drop
fee (i.e. special construction costs or line extension fees).”14 Is this the proper criterion for such an
assessment? If not, what specific costs should the Commission consider to make such an assessment?
Should such an assessment be dependent on the financial condition of the petitioner? If so, what standard
should we use for assessing whether a waiver is warranted based on financial condition? How much and
what kind of information about a petitioner’s financial condition should be submitted in support of a
waiver request? Should information as to where the waiver applicant is in its EAS equipment
replacement cycle be a factor in the Commission’s analysis?15 Should factual statements in the waiver
request be certified by a corporate officer, rather than some other representative? Does the proposed one-
year period for waivers, terminable once broadband access becomes available without “additional
construction or set-up fees,”16 adequately address the Commission’s concerns about changing
circumstances? Would a six-month reporting condition, attesting to the continuing compliance with the
original conditions, be a better way of addressing those concerns without adding unnecessary costs?
Finally, in its petition, ACA proposes that those filing a waiver certification include "[a]n
affirmation that the operator understands it must continue to operate its legacy EAS equipment."17 Is this
criterion sufficient to ensure that subscribers remain able to receive timely and accurate EAS alerts?
Should the Commission, for example, require that the waiver certification include an affirmation that the
cable operator continues to operate legacy EAS equipment that is capable of receiving and transmitting
the Emergency Action Notification?

Procedural Matters

Interested parties may file oppositions and other comments and reply comments on or before the dates
indicated on the first page of this document. All pleadings must reference EB Docket No. 04-296.
Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See
Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings
, 63 FR 24121 (1998).


13 See Review of the Emergency Alert System; Independent Spanish Broadcasters Association, The Office of
Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc., and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council,
Petition for Immediate Relief, ET Docket No. 04-296, Fourth Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 13710 (2011).
14 ACA Petition at 7.
15 See Fifth Report and Order at ¶ 153.
16 ACA Petition at 8.
17 Id. at 7.
3

§
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
§
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding,
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-
class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
§
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be
disposed of before entering the building.
§
Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
§
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities
(Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (tty).
Address all filings to the Commission’s Secretary, Marlene H. Dortch, Office of the Secretary,
Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554.
Parties should also send a copy of their filings to Gregory Cooke, Policy and Licensing Division, Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, Room 7-A744, 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554, or by e-mail to Gregory.Cooke@fcc.gov. Parties shall also serve
one copy with the Commission’s copy contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (BCPI), Portals II, 445
12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 488-5300, or via e-mail to
fcc@bcpiweb.com.
Documents in EB Docket No. 04-296 are available for public inspection and copying during
business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th St. SW, Room CY-A257,
Washington, D.C. 20554. The documents are available for purchase from BCPI, telephone (202) 488-
5300, facsimile (202) 488-5563, TTY (202) 488-5562, e-mail fcc@bcpiweb.com. These documents are
also available for viewing on the Commission’s website at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs.
This matter is subject to the “permit-but-disclose” provisions of the Commission’s ex parte
rules.18 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a
memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a
different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations
are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or


18 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200 et seq.
4

otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all
data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in
part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter’s written comments,
memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or
arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or
paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the
memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to
be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings
governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing,
written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all
attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that
proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in
this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.
For further information, contact Gregory Cooke, Associate Chief, Policy and Licensing Division,
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at (202) 418-2351 (voice), or via e-mail at
Gregory.Cooke@fcc.gov.
By the Acting Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
- FCC -
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