FCC Releases Fifth EAS Report and Order

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◊ The FCC incorporates conformance with the ECIG Implementation Guide into its existing certification process. EAS equipment must be certified as CAP compliant because the FCC has amended Part 11 to require CAP-to-SAME conversion in conformance with the ECIG Implementation Guide, and thus, as part of the required Part 11 functions, it necessarily falls under Part 11's certification requirements. The FCC will require that any EAS device that performs the functions of converting CAP-formatted messages into a SAME-compliant message, including integrated CAP-capable EAS devices and intermediary devices be certified under our Part 11 rules.

◊ The FCC concludes that the mandate to receive and transmit CAP-formatted messages initiated by state governors is not necessary at this time and is potentially detrimental to effective deployment of CAP-based alerts and has eliminated the mandate from Part 11.

◊ With respect to the question of whether we should eliminate the EAS Operating Handbook, the FCC observes that the test data from the Nov. 9, 2011, nationwide EAS test may provide insight on this matter. The FCC feels it's premature to make any decisions on eliminating the EAS Operating Handbook until after it has reviewed the test data it has received from test. The FCC is deferring any action at this time.

◊ The FCC is eliminating the Participating National (NN) Source status on the grounds that it is not necessary. NN status references are being deleted from sections 11.18, 11.41, 11.54, and 11.55, deleting section 11.19 altogether. The FCC will require any existing stations operating under NN status to meet the full message-by-message EAN processing requirements and CAP-related requirements by the June 30, 2012, general deadline for processing CAP-formatted messages. The FCC says NN status does not appear to serve any purpose today because NN entities already are required to deploy a decoder that complies with all EAS message processing requirements and they follow all of the EAN processing requirements, except broadcasting the audio message. The FCC observed in the Third FNPRM that there are relatively few NN stations.

◊ The FCC was persuaded by commenters to retain the Attention Signal because it continues to serve a useful purpose in the EAS framework as an audio notification to the general public that an alert is about to be aired. Further, the Attention Signal is limited to no more than eight seconds. The FCC already requires the Signal to be no shorter than 8 seconds.

◊ The FCC reiterates that it lacks the authority to raise or distribute funds for EAS-related purposes and therefore cannot provide training for state and local emergency managers. The FCC will, however, hold workshops and summits as part of its outreach mission.

Other elements of the order update some rules that apply to visual displays for TV broadcasters. Some other aspects of Part 11 were updated to eliminate inconsistencies in the Rules and remove obsolete portions.

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