[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 111 (Friday, June 8, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 33995-33997]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-13901]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 11

[EB Docket No. 04-296; DA 12-834]


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

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Petition for partial reconsideration.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communication Commission's 
(Commission) Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) gives 
notice that the American Cable Association (ACA) has filed a petition 
for partial reconsideration of the Commission's Emergency Alert System 
(EAS) Fifth Report and Order, and announces a schedule for the pleading 
cycle.

DATES: Oppositions/Comments are due on or before June 25, 2012 and 
replies are due on or before July 3, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by EB Docket No. 04-296 
by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: htttp://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, 
by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail (although the Commission continues to experience 
delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail). All filings must be 
addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, 
Federal Communications Commission.
     People with Disabilities: Contact the Commission to 
request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign 
language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 
202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.
    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 should 
be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.
    To request materials in accessible formats for people with 
disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), 
send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental 
Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gregory M. Cooke, Associate Chief, 
Policy Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 
418-2351, or by email at gregory.cooke@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Public 
Notice in EB Docket No. 04-296, DA 12-834, released on May 25, 2012. 
This document is available to the public at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2012/db0525/DA-12-834A1.doc.

Synopsis of the Public Notice

    1. On April 23, 2012, the Commission received a petition filed by 
the ACA for partial reconsideration of that portion of the Commission's 
EAS Fifth Report and Order (77 FR 16688, March 22, 2012) ``requiring 
operators of cable systems lacking physical * * * broadband Internet 
connections to seek waivers under the Commission's standard 
procedures.'' 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. By the 
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

    2. 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 (IPAWS) for federal CAP-formatted alert 
messages using whatever interface technology is appropriate. The 
Commission noted that ``the primary method of distributing CAP messages 
will be via a broadband Internet connection.'' 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.'' 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. 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.''
    3. 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.'' ACA argues that to

[[Page 33996]]

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).''
    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.''

Discussion

    4. The Commission seeks comment on ACA's Petition. It also seeks 
comment on several specific issues. First, it notes that the its 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 receive CAP-formatted alerts by June 30, 2012. 
Accordingly, it seeks 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?
    5. The Commission also seeks 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).'' 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 the Commission 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? 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,'' 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?
    6. 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.'' 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

A. Ex Parte Presentations

    7. This matter is subject to the ``permit-but-disclose'' provisions 
of the Commission's ex parte rules. 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 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 Sec.  1.1206(b) 
of the Commission's rules. In proceedings governed by Sec.  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.

B. Comment Filing Procedures

    8. 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).
     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

[[Page 33997]]

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.
    9. People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the 
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), 
(202) 418-0432 (tty).
    10. 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 email 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 email to 
fcc@bcpiweb.com.
    11. 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, DC 20554. The documents are available for purchase from 
BCPI, telephone (202) 488-5300, facsimile (202) 488-5563, TTY (202) 
488-5562, email fcc@bcpiweb.com. These documents are also available for 
viewing on the Commission's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs.

Federal Communications Commission.
Lisa M. Fowlkes,
Deputy Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2012-13901 Filed 6-7-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P