FCC Reveals 60-Day Grace Period for IPAWS Update

The quick turnaround for a recent update had many EAS participants worried.
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WASHINGTON—EAS participants who are not able to update to the IPAWS certificate that was released on Oct. 28 by the applied deadline of Nov. 8 will not turn into the proverbial pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight, according to a Public Notice from the FCC.

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In the notice from the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC, it was revealed that there are specific guidelines regarding equipment readiness that will allow EAS participants to continue to operate without the impacted, required equipment for a period of 60 days after the Nov. 8 deadline.

The issue of this public notice came after FEMA and some EAS participants expressed concern over the time frame from when the update was made available and the deadline that was set, saying that it was not sufficient time. As a result, the FCC issued the public notice to inform EAS participants about Section 11.35(b) of the commission’s rules, which allow for operations to continue “without the defective equipment pending its repair or replacement for 60 days without further FCC authority.”

As a result, EAS participants unable to make the IPAWS update prior to Nov. 8 will have until Jan. 7, 2020, to do so. In the event that they are not able to meet that deadline, an informal request for additional time must be submitted to the FCC and explain what steps have been taken, the alternative procedures being used while equipment has been defective and when the defective equipment will be repaired or replaced.

The update, and the subsequent operation without proper equipment in the situation of an extension, only applies to Common Alerting Protocol-formatted alerts distributed by IPAWS; EAS participants must still monitor, receive and process legacy EAS alerts formatted in the EAS protocol.

More information can be found in the FCC’s official Public Notice.