Washington - Nov 24, 2010 - The Federal Communications Commission has agreed with the Society of Broadcast Engineers, National Association of Broadcasters, MSTV and almost all state broadcaster associations that the 180-day EAS deadline should be extended. Late Nov. 23, the FCC announced that the deadline will be extended from 180 days to 360 days, effectively making the new deadline Sept. 30, 2011. The FCC action was officially taken on Nov. 18.
Word of the ruling came to Radio magazine from the SBE. SBE President Vinny Lopez, CEV CBNT, upon hearing the announcement said, "The FCC took an important step toward establishing an effective and orderly improvement of the US' public warning strategy. The SBE and its EAS-experienced members intend to work to support our industry and the FCC to improve the EAS. As the system changes, the SBE will publish information and education to help our members and the industry incorporate the changes in a cost-efficient and effective way."
The FCC considered multiple factors cited in industry filings in approving the extension, including the need for more time for the development, testing and potential certification of the new equipment and the costs associated with purchasing the CAP-compliant equipments by EAS participants.
In 2007, the FCC required all Emergency Alert System (EAS) participants to have the capability to receive Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)-formatted EAS messages within 180 days of FEMA's adoption of a CAP standard (i.e., March 29, 2011).
James Arden Barnett Jr., rear admiral (ret.) and chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said, "We are pleased to provide the extension to broadcasters and other EAS participants to come into CAP-compliance. It is critical that we get this right from the beginning and after weighing considerable public input calling for an extension, we believe today's action to do so provides broadcasters and other EAS participants with greater flexibility to meet the technical requirements for delivering next generation emergency alerts to the public."
The FCC's decision to provide an extension was based on public comment and a specific recommendation by the FCC's Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), a federal advisory committee, calling for an extension of the CAP-compliance deadline. CSRIC and others from the public cited multiple factors in their call for an extension of the deadline, including the need for more time for the development, testing and potential certification of the new equipment and the costs associated with purchasing the CAP-compliant equipments by EAS participants. The FCC took these factors into consideration and extended the deadline from 180 days to 360 days for EAS participants to come into compliance.
The idea of extending the deadline has been discussed and was the topic of a recent filing with the FCC, although the real catalyst of the FCC action was the CSRIC recommendation and the SBE/NAB/MSTV petition.