Small Ops Want EAS Waivers

The American Cable Association backed a plan to ease the
emergency-alert-system-compliance burden on small cable systems, but it wants
the Federal Communications Commission to continue letting small operators seek
waivers due to the remaining expense.

The ACA said current costs for EAS equipment and installation for smaller
headends run between $7,500 and $10,000.

The small-operator trade group said it supports a decoder-only EAS option,
pushed by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the
National Association of the Deaf, but the ACA added that such an option would
only decrease an operator's costs by 15 percent to 20 percent.

'For operators of hundreds and hundreds of very small headends, even these
compliance costs will impose an impossible financial burden in 2002,' ACA
president Matt Polka said in a letter to the FCC.

The ACA said it represents more than 5,000 cable systems, over 20 percent of
which have fewer than 1,000 subscribers.

'Imposing on those very small systems the same EAS-compliance costs as a
system serving nearly 5,000 subscribers would, in the commission's own words, be
'financially ruinous' and cause 'irreparable harm,'' the association