WASHINGTON—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 agency.
“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.