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FCC Calls for Stronger EAS

More involvement at state and local levels among proposals

WASHINGTON�The FCC aims to pump up the national Emergency Alert System with a number of proposed rules changes. Among the goals are facilitating more involvement at the state and local levels, supporting greater testing and awareness, leveraging technological advances, and enhancing EAS security.

In terms of increasing state and local involvement, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted by the FCC includes streamlining, automating, and improving the utility of state EAS plans filed with the FCC; the authorizing of state and local alert originators and EAS participants to conduct periodic �live� tests; and allow federal, state and local governments to issue public service announcements using the EAS attention signal, as long as they are presented in a non-misleading and technically harmless manner.

Other issues the NPRM will also look into whether EAS participants should be required to submit an annual certification that they are following EAS best practices; and if technological advancements have improved cable providers� ability to offer more specific and informative alert content and if the FCC should retain certain related rule provisions. The Commission will also assess whether public expectations are being met for receiving alerts across different platforms, and how community-based alerting exercises can best meet the needs of individuals with limited English abilities or those with disabilities.