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APTS, Homeland Security Department launch digital EAS test

The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have launched a six-month pilot Digital Emergency Alert System (DEAS) program in Washington, D.C. The test is intended to show how Homeland Security can improve public alert and warning during national crises via the DTV signals of local public television broadcasters.

The pilot program is a joint venture among FEMA, Homeland Security’s Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection directorate, and the APTS. PBS, WETA in Arlington, VA, and professional services firm SpectraRep will also assist.

The technology infrastructure to expand this approach nationwide exists at 291 digital public television stations across the country. In the home, set-top boxes, special datacast receiver cards and new DTV sets can retrieve the warnings for display.

One objective of the pilot program is to investigate how to interface such data with phone, cellular, cable and other networks to reach the largest number of people.

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