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House Approves Bill Bringing EAS to Streaming

U.S. Capitol
(Image credit: Future)

WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives passed a trio of communications-related bills on Nov. 17, headlined by one that will work to include streaming in future emergency alerting efforts.

The Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act of 2020 (H.R. 6096) directs the FCC to examine the feasibility of modernizing the Emergency Alert System by expanding alert distribution to the internet and streaming services. Additional facets of the bill include classifying emergency alerts from FEMA as a type that cannot be blocked by consumers on their mobile devices and appointing the FCC to work with State Emergency Communications Committees in developing and modernizing State Emergency Alert System plans. The bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of representative and passed with a voice vote.

The other bills passed by the House were the Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act of 2020 (H.R. 6624), which creates a grant program through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to promote technology that enhances supply chain security and market competitiveness in wireless communications networks; and the Spectrum IT Modernization Act of 2020 (H.R. 7310), which requires NTIA to submit to Congress a report on its plans to modernize agency information technology systems relating to managing the use of federal spectrum. Both of these bills also had bipartisan support and passed in voice votes.

“From keeping Americans better informed during emergencies to promoting 5G coordination, competitiveness and security, these three bills will create a better, safer communications network for us all,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) in a statement. “At its core, our telecommunications infrastructure exists to serve the public interest and connect our nation, and we are proud of the bipartisan work that went into advancing that goal with these three bills. We thank all our colleagues for working with us to get such important legislation passed today.”