Federal Advisory Committee Urges FCC to Rethink Portion of CAP-EAS Rule
June 30 deadline approaching for broadcasters to have Common Alerting Protocol-compliant
EAS gear installed and in working order at their stations, the industry and
government turn their attention to the practical mechanics of that migration.
subgroup of a federal advisory committee making best practices recommendations
to the FCC about migration to CAP-EAS met yesterday and has focused on two core
areas they think need commission attention. Edward Czarnecki of Monroe Electronics co-chairs “working group 9” of
the Communications, Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council, along
with Chris Homer of DirecTV.
prohibited the use of “text-to-speech” (TTS) for assembling the legacy EAS
audio messages derived from CAP alerts when no CAP audio file is provided in
its Fifth Report & Order. In an AWARE
blog post, Gary Timm wrote that the commission cited concerns about whether TTS
is “sufficiently accurate” for EAS use “and the agency feels that different TTS
software could produce differing audio messages from the same EAS message.”
working group has recommended that the FCC reverse that ban. Czarnecki says if
the ban is not lifted, “all that will reach the air is EAS tones,” making the
alert unusable to stations. Those with visual impairments or who can’t read the
crawl on the television rely on radio or the aural part of the TV message, he
line: “The prohibition poses complications whether or not a state-based or
federal-based message origination system is generating an audio file,” Czarnecki
step is to see whether the FCC can reexamine the prohibition, by possibly using
a Notice of Inquiry or beginning another rulemaking on the topic, he told Radio
FEMA and a
group of EAS gear manufacturers
recently asked the commission to rethink the text-to speech ban.
The CSRC working group also discussed
potential issues of combining IPAWS Conformity Assessment with FCC Part 11
Equipment Certification. Among other issues, the FEMA CAP conformity test
guidance — needed for test facilities to design and review their test support
programs — is not yet public. Nonetheless, completion of Part 11 product
testing is feasible by June 30, according to the industry group, which does not
feel the June 30 CAP compliance deadline needs to be extended.
recommended that all testing under the streamlined certification process be
conducted via FCC-approved third-party facilities, and that that
self-certification should not be allowed.
Finally, the group urges FEMA to issue
its CAP conformity test guidance as quickly as possible, so that test
facilities can design their test support programs.
working group plans to have a follow-up report in June.