New EAS Rules for Wireless Cable TV Systems

February 15, 2005
The FCC has revised its Part 11 Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules regarding the transmission of EAS alerts to "wireless" cable subscribers. Specifically, wireless cable operators will now be able to choose between force-tuning all programmed channels (excluding channels devoted to Internet access) to a pre-designated channel transmitting the EAS information or sending the EAS information simultaneously on all channels.

All wireless cable systems were required to have an EAS decoder and encoder in place by Oct. 1, 2002. Systems with more than 5,000 subscribers per transmission site were required to transmit the EAS message on all channels by Oct. 1, 2002. The revised rule allows them to accomplish this "by providing a means to switch all programmed channels to a pre-designated channel that carries the required audio and video EAS messages."

Stations with less than 5,000 subscribers per transmission site are not required to transmit the EAS message on all channels, but must carry the message on at least one channel.

For more details on the requirements, see the FCC Report and Order (FCC-05-21).

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