FCC action intended to strengthen EAS

June 7, 2007

The FCC adopted a Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking May 31 that promotes development of fully digital next-generation technologies and delivery systems for use as part of the nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The Order requires EAS participants to accept messages using Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), the groundwork for next generation EAS delivery systems, no later than 180 days after FEMA announces its adoption of standards in each case. The use of CAP will help to ensure the efficient and rapid transmission of EAS alerts to the American public in a variety of formats, including text, audio and video, via broadcast, cable, satellite, and other networks.

One result of these developments will be enhanced access to EAS alerts and warnings for persons with disabilities and for non-English speakers. The Further Notice seeks comment on how best to deliver EAS alerts as well as broader emergency and public safety information to these groups, and commits to adoption of a final order within six months. The order leaves open the issues raised in a petition filed by several groups representing non-English speaking persons and directs its Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to convene a meeting on the issue.

The order also requires terrestrial EAS participants to transmit state and locally targeted EAS alerts that are originated by governors or their designees. The Further Notice seeks comment on whether participants should be required to deliver EAS alerts originated by local, county, tribal or other state governmental entities.

For more information, visit: www.fcc.gov.

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