FCC Formally Extends Deadline For Emergency Alert System Protocols

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By Paul Barbagallo  

The FCC's Fourth Report and Order [FCC 11-136, 53 CR 1345] extending until June 30, 2012 the deadline for television and radio broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite providers participating in the Emergency Alert System to be capable of receiving Common Alerting Protocol-formatted alerts was published in the Federal Register Dec. 23.

Common Alerting Protocol, or CAP, would allow emergency messages to be sent out simultaneously over a number of different warning systems including radio, TV, smartphones, e-mail, and social media.

This is the second extension granted by the agency since the Federal Emergency Management Agency published the technical standards for CAP-formatted EAS alerts in September 2010.

The FCC said more time is needed because the agency has yet to adopt CAP-based revisions to its EAS rules. The commission said it expects to do so “sufficiently in advance of June 30, 2012, to allow EAS Participants ample time to comply with the new Part 11 rules.”

The FCC and FEMA conducted the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System in November. The government had tested the EAS system at the state and local level, but never before in one coordinated, nationwide, top-to-bottom review. Further testing may be held in 2012 because of technical problems with the November test.