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Signal Leakage

Background

Since 1984, all franchise cable systems have been required by the FCC to comply with specific signal leakage performance, operational and reporting requirements. Until recently, systems outside the definition of a "Cable System" were exempt (The rules now refer to those systems as non-cable multichannel programming distributors (MVPDs)) from any of those requirements. They included Private Cable, MMDS, LMDS, and DBS. This is no longer the case. In the fall of 1997, the FCC made a major change in the rules pursuant to Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making - CS 95-184 (FCC97-376).

This rulemaking requires that the signal leakage provisions be applied to all the systems that previously enjoyed exempt status. New rule sections for CFR 47 Part 76 were written and others amended to effect the changes set out in the R&O. Some of the changes went into effect immediately, some January 1, 1998. But, for most there is a gradual five-year phase-in period. The phase-in period ends and the rules become fully effective January 2003.

The following articles present in simple terms: (a) what is required now; (b) what will be required after 2003; and (c) what strategies we suggest the operator implement to prepare for the future and to ensure full compliance and increased customer satisfaction in the meantime.

Prepared in 1999 at the request of the ICTA Board of Directors, these articles were previously published in Private & Wireless Broadband Magazine.

Bob Palle, Emily Nikoo and Teri Newton of Blonder Tongue authored the first article - How to Comply with the New FCC Signal Leakage Rules. This article examines the FCC requirements for measuring signal leakage and reporting the results.

The second article - Practical Signal Leakage Abatement Techniques In the MDU Environment was authored by John Manning and Steve Hegge also with Blonder Tongue. This article focuses on the practical application - the nuts and bolts of compliance.

Additional information regarding FCC Signal Leakage rules will be found on the FCC web site: www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering