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2010 EAS Summit Reveals Encouraging Progress on EAS Transition to CAP
Further change is in the future delivery of a presidential EAS message. With FEMA's commitment to deliver those messages in CAP format directly to broadcasters, there will be less emphasis on the Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations as the sole source of the national message. However, the PEP stations will continue to deliver the president's message in legacy EAS format and PEP station expansion will continue with five new PEP stations being added this year to the existing 41. By 3Q2011, FEMA is committed to having a total of 74 PEP stations with coverage of 90 percent of the U.S. population.
Another new IPAWS program is the Geo-Targeted Alerting System (GTAS), a joint project with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to provide emergency managers a tool to determine populations impacted by weather-related factors such as the winds affecting a toxic chemical release cloud. Following the recent announcement of Disaster Management - Open Platform for Emergency Networks (DM-OPEN) as the backbone for the IPAWS CAP network, one of the larger new projects in the IPAWS office is designing the DM-OPEN system architecture. This project sounds to be well underway as well.
Last but not least, FEMA announced it will have a booth at the 2010 NAB Show in Las Vegas. Its booth will feature a demonstration of CAP origination and transport through DM-OPEN to dissemination channels including an EAS/CAP encoder/decoder. This proactive FEMA engagement with broadcasters is good to see.
FCC and NWS
The FCC's updates revolved largely around the EAS Part 11 rule changes that will be needed as a result of the transition to CAP. The FCC will soon request informal comments on the rule changes that will be needed. This is a precursor to the actual notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) the Commission says it expects to release this summer. The FCC has also tasked a working group of the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) Advisory Committee to advise the Commission on needed rule changes. It was revealed that the FCC National Broadband Plan (released on March 16, 2010) will address EAS and public alerting.
The SBE request for EAS spectrum in the 700MHz D-Block was brought up, and the Commission said it would look into the possibilities. Lastly, the FCC stressed it wants comments on its currently open NPRM on EAS testing. Those comments will determine how the National EAS Test is conducted. Valuable lessons were learned from the Alaska EAS test in January. 84 percent of stations directly monitoring the Alaska PEP station aired the test, but six Local Primary (LP-1) stations did not receive the test.
The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that in the next month or two its CAP alert beta website will transition to the full production version, with backup and full-time support. The Weather Radio Improvement Program (WRIP), which will be completed in two years, will offer CAP message input into NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) systems. This will allow NWR to be a more complete player in the EAS CAP message relay function.
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