FCC Releases 3rd NPRM on EAS

May 27, 2011

Washington - May 26, 2011 - In a third further notice of proposed rulemaking the Federal Communications Commission seeks comment on proposed changes to Part 11 rules governing the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to codify the obligation to process alert messages formatted in the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) and to streamline and clarify these rules generally to enhance their effectiveness.

The FCC tentatively concludes, with respect to the CAP-related obligations addressed in this item, that its focus should be on ensuring that CAP-formatted alert messages entered into the EAS are converted into and processed in the same way as messages formatted in the EAS protocol. The FCC also expects to clarify Part 11 rules on how EAS participants should be able to convert CAP-formatted EAS messages into EAS Protocol-compliant EAS messages.

The FCC plans to require all stations to monitor the really simple syndication 2.0 feeds utilized by FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System for federal CAP-formatted messages and state alert systems as the source of governor-originated CAP messages (provided these are described in the State Area EAS Plan submitted to and approved by the Commission).

The FCC seeks comment on whether it should permit EAS participants to meet their CAP-related obligations by deploying intermediary devices that convert CAP-formatted messages into EAS protocol-formatted messages for transmission over the EAS participants' transmission platforms.

The FCC also seeks comment on whether and how the Commission should incorporate compliance with CAP functionality into its existing certification scheme, including how the Commission should implement conformance testing related to the proper translation of CAP-formatted messages into EAS Protocol-compliant messages and what requirements the Commission should adopt for modified EAS equipment. In addition, the FC asks if intermediary devices should be subject to the same certification requirements as stand-alone decoders and encoders.

There are also questions about the existing 180-day clock (which became a 36-day clock) deadline for stations to be CAP compliant. The FCC asks if the Sept. 30, 2011 deadline should be maintained or extended.

The complete NPRM is available on the FCC website:

EB Docket No. 04-296

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