The National Association of Broadcasters
is giving a thumbs up to the FCC proposals to tweak the system as
federal officials plan the next national EAS test next fall.
Specifically, the broadcast lobby supports the commission’s plan to
adopt a national location code of six zeroes (000000) for national EAS
alerts. Implementing the change should be simple for most stations,
because Common Alerting Protocol-enabled EAS encoders/decoders already
recognize six zeroes as the national location code, NAB tells the
“This approach should help ensure that national EAS alerts are
processed on a uniform basis throughout the entire EAS system,”
according to NAB.
The broadcast lobby also backs using the existing National Periodic
Test code for future testing, at least for the next such test. “The NPT
code is already recognized by virtually all existing EAS devices, and an
NPT-based test would be clearly marked as a test, thereby preventing
any public confusion over the true nature of the exercise. This approach
test would still allow the commission to fully assess the dissemination
of EAS alerts throughout the system,” notes NAB.
Thereafter, if the commission and FEMA still see a need to review
aspects of the EAS system that an NPT-coded test would not address, NAB
would support additional, less-frequent nationwide testing using a live
Emergency Alert Notification code, or an NPT that is reconfigured to
fully simulated the EAN. Such an approach would allow continuous
refinement of the EAS distribution system, while providing ample time to
prepare for, and publicize, a nationwide test that more closely
resembles an actual emergency, believes the broadcast trade group.
Handling text crawls is tricky however, and NAB believes the agency
should support a collaborative process involving all stakeholders that
includes representatives of the disabled community to develop best
practices for EAS crawls.
Comments to EB Docket 04-296 were due this week. Replies are due Aug. 29.