Broadcast, cable groups ask FCC for six-month extension on EAS CAP compliance

A variety of broadcast and cable associations, including 46 state broadcast associations, asked the FCC Oct. 21 to extend the deadline by 180 days to comply with new regulations requiring them to be able to receive Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)-formatted Emergency Alert System (EAS) alerts.

Currently, thousands of companies participating in EAS nationwide are required to be able to receive CAP v1.2-formatted EAS alerts by March 29, 2011.

On Sept. 30, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published technical standards for CAP-formatted EAS alerts to be used for the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS). Under existing FCC EAS regulations, publication of the standards started a six-month clock for all EAS participants to acquire, install and test CAP-compliant equipment.

The petition requests that the commission extend the deadline until at least Sept. 30, 2011, to comply with the CAP requirement. It also asks the commission to consider “other appropriate relief, including but not limited to, a longer extension” and holding the deadline in abeyance until the commission decides whether it will establish its own process for certifying CAP-compliant equipment, as recommended by the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), as well as finish an anticipated rulemaking proceeding to modify its rules to reflect CAP implementation. The filing also points out that the request for more time is consistent with a CSRIC recommendation to the FCC.

The petition points out that it is unlikely vendors will be able to meet demand for CAP-compliant equipment in time for the thousands of EAS participants to comply. “Indeed, it is estimated that many vendors will require three to six months of actual testing of the new CAP-capable equipment before it can be relied upon,” the filing said. Additionally, current lead times on new electronic components are “substantially longer” than normal “and are often as long as six months,” the petition says.

Those filing the petition include 46 state broadcast associations, NAB, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the American Cable Association, the Association for Maximum Service Television, National Public Radio, the Association of Public Television Stations and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.