Weekly Tech Reminders: Net Neutrality, Blue Alerts and More

An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes December 19, 2017

The following is from the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s weekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to ABA’s Larry Wilkins. To subscribe to the newsletter, email lwilkins@al-ba.com. 

NET NEUTRALITY 

As all are aware, last week the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality.

The net neutrality rules were approved by the FCC in 2015 amid an outpouring of online support. The intention was to keep the internet open and fair.

Under the rules, internet service providers are required to treat all online content the same. They can't deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps, nor can they put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

The FCC is now doing away with rules barring internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content. The FCC would also eliminate a rule barring providers from prioritizing their own content.

In the absence of a firm ban on these actions, providers will be required to publicly disclose any instance of blocking, throttling or paid prioritization. It will then be evaluated based on whether or not the activity is anti-competitive.

BLUE ALERTS UPDATE

Broadcasters need to put the new "Blue Alert" on their engineering to-do list. The FCC gives broadcasters 12 months to implement the Blue Alert event code through equipment upgrades, software updates, development, and testing.

The Blue Alert will alert radio listeners and others to an imminent and credible threat involving the death or serious injury of a law enforcement officer, threats to cause death or serious injury to a law enforcement officer, or missing law enforcement officers, over the EAS and Wireless Emergency Alert system.

It was quickly approved by the Commission last Thursday, effective 12 months after publication in the Federal Register... So call that basically 13 months from now (roughly end of January 2019).  Additional information will be issued in the coming weeks.

USING DIGITAL AUDIO THROUGH SAGE ENDEC

As a reminder if your operation is using AES audio make sure to set the sample rate in your EAS equipment to match the program feed, regardless of whether internal or external clock is selected.

Incorrect sample rates will result in the digital to analog (D/A) converter to transpose the audio to either a lower pitch or higher pitch.  There have some reports that EAS alerts sound like "Darth Vader", most often this is the result of incorrect sample rate conversion.

When using analog audio, the rate should be set to 48 kbps.

ANNUAL EAS DATABASE SURVEY

In January the Alabama SECC will be sending out our annual EAS Database Survey.  The purpose of this short survey is to make sure we have accurate information concerning EAS equipment, monitor sources and engineering contacts.

We maintain this EAS Mapbook as required by the FCC.  The survey will be included in this newsletter in January as well as emailed to each engineer in our database.

Please make sure to fill out and return to the ABA so we have the most up to date information for your operation. 

 

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