Michigan cabler nailed by FCC for EAS violation


Upper Peninsula Communications Inc. is a cable MSO serving communities in the portion of Michigan mentioned in its name. Although the FCC honored its claim of financial hardship and granted waivers at some of its systems to come into compliance with EAS rules, the system in Powers MI was not one of them.

An FCC agent inspected the Power system with its manager 11/3/10, and noted the lack of EAS equipment, a lack the manager acknowledged. However, the manager said he believed that the Powers system was not required to have the equipment due to its small size – at the time, it had a grand total of 55 subscribers.

UPC has since sold the Powers system, to Packerland Broadband in a deal that closed 2/1/11, but it still operates other systems in the region.

According to the FCC, “The agent, subsequent to the inspection, determined that, although some of Upper Peninsula’s cable systems had received temporary waivers of the Commission’s deadline for certain cable systems to come into compliance with the EAS rules, the system serving Powers, Michigan never had such a waiver.”

The FCC did not address whether or not the system would have been successful had it applied for a waiver on grounds of its small size; it did, however, say that its small size was not a mitigating factor in the absence of a waiver.

It therefore hit the station with the full $8K standard fine for an EAS violation.

The FCC did make an allowance for the system’s small size, though – it said that normally, given the lengthy duration of time that the system was operating without an operating EAS system, it normally would have adjusted the fine upward and charged UPC even more. But since the system is so tiny, it decided to leave it at $8K.