Is Another EAS-CAP Deadline Extension Coming?

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Washington - Aug 4, 2011 - Now that the reply comment deadline for the FCC's third notice of proposed rulemaking on EAS-CAP has passed and the FCC considers how to proceed, a group of organizations filed a petition to extend the pending Sept. 30, 2011 deadline. The National Alliance of State Broadcasting Associations (NASBA), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG), National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), American Cable Association (ACA), National Public Radio, Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) submitted a joint petition to the Federal Communications Commission to grant a further extension of at least 180 days of the Sept. 30, 2011, Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) compliance deadline. The group filed its petition on July 29.

When the FCC extended the existing deadline by 180 days to Sept. 30, it said failing to do so could "lead to an unduly rushed, expensive, and likely incomplete process." In the Third Further Notice, the Commission recognizes that a further extension might be appropriate and asked for comments regarding whether a further extension is warranted, and the petitioners believe it is.

The petitioners state the same reasons for the original extension still exist. It is still uncertain if the Commission will implement its own certification process separate from that of FEMA. The petitioners noted in their first CAP extension request that no EAS participant should be required to purchase equipment without knowing whether it will be fully FCC compliant. The group says the same situation exists today. The additional time requested will also allow EAS participants to take into consideration any changes to the Part 11 rules before making final purchase decisions, as well as to finalize their planning for installation, training, testing and operations. As the State Association noted in its comments, "it is only fair that EAS participants be allowed adequate time to evaluate the impact of any changes to Part 11 before being required to comply with regulations the full impact of which cannot yet be known."

The NAB also states that it is appropriate to extend the deadline in light of the fact that the majority of EAS message originators will not be prepared to send a CAP-enabled messages for the foreseeable future.

APTS and PBS note that because "the deadline for reply comments is set for early August (and now past), it is likely a final order by the Commission will be released relatively close to the current CAP-compliance deadline. This could make it extremely difficult for stations to comply with newly revised regulations by the current deadline."

With such a large group with some strong voices stating its view, it's possible the FCC will grant a further extension.

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