Small Cable Ops Ask Regulators to Postpone EAS-CAP Mandate for a Year
July 21, 2011
organization representing small cable operators is asking for more time to
implement new Emergency Alert System technology. The American Cable Association
asked the Federal Communications Commission for another year to effectuate Common
Alerting Protocol, or CAP. The deadline for doing so now stands at Sept. 30.
“ACA believes that the EAS CAP reception deadline should be generally
extended,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka. “This will give the FCC
time to provide much needed guidance and certainty as to the obligations being
placed on the EAS participant, including the compliance options available to
cable operators and time for the vendor market to react.”
CAP is an XML-based messaging format intended to standardize the alerting
process across various warning agencies. It was approved last fall by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency to theoretically enable local, state and
federal agencies to send a single warning that can be deciphered by TVs,
radios, cellphones, computers and other platforms such as digital signage.
Cable, satellite and broadcast TV providers must comply by the deadline, but
there are still unanswered questions “regarding the codification of specific
obligations for CAP functionality, the incorporation of that functionality into
the FCC’s existing equipment certification scheme, the use of intermediary
devices for compliance, and the certification of such devices,” the ACA said. “The
FCC must first answer these questions before companies and equipment vendors
can respond and companies come into compliance with CAP requirements. All of
this will take time, making compliance with the rapidly approaching Sept. 30,
2011, CAP reception deadline all but impossible.”
The lobby said it would need another year for small- and medium-sized cable
operators to comply, because gear vendors are now focused on accommodating
larger operators, “and do not focus on smaller operators and their unique
concerns until later.” Smaller operations also have fewer resources to keep up
with the FCC’s various requirements in general, and some may not even be aware
of the pending September deadline, the ACA said.
“ACA and its member companies understand the importance of complying with
updated EAS requirements,” Polka said. “However, to benefit their communities,
small companies with limited resource need time to understand the best
solutions for their systems and make wise purchasing decisions.”
The ACA also asked the FCC to exempt systems with 500 or fewer subscribers;
those without wired broadband, which is necessary for CAP, and those that
demonstrate financial hardship.
The deadline for filing reply comments on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking on Part 11 rules governing EAS are due Aug. 4.