Broadcasters have 180 days to comply with the new version of the Common Alerting Protocol ... although comments here at the Radio Show convention suggest that this timetable might end up being extended.
According to an FCC spokesman, "Our priority is to ensure that the implementation of the CAP technology is as efficient as possible and we will continue to work with FEMA, broadcasters and other EAS participants throughout this process. The shot clock has begun and, as always with any major initiative such as this, we will consider providing flexibility to those responsible for compliance with our rules." Six months from now is approximately the end of March.
Lisa Fowlkes, the deputy bureau chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said the FCC was pleased. "The adoption of the new CAP standard will ultimately transform America’s emergency alert and warning capabilities and better enable Americans to receive these potentially life-saving alerts over multiple technologies." She confirmed that FEMA's announcement of CAP today triggers the 180-day period, at the end of which broadcasters and other EAS participants must be able to accept a CAP-formatted message.
Further, "In light of the introduction of CAP, the commission is examining what changes, if any, it should make to its EAS rules. Early this year, the bureau issued a public notice seeking informal comment on this issue. The comments will be used to draft a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the full commission’s consideration."
Last year, Fowlkes said, "We tasked the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) to develop and make recommendations on this issue. The informal working group assigned to work on this issue is chaired by Damon Penn, assistant administrator at FEMA and Pat Robert, President of the Florida Association of Broadcasters. We expect the CSRIC to take up this issue and present recommendations to the FCC on this front within the next few months."
Several observers of the alerting process indicated that the commission seems intent on moving CAP implementation along quickly, not dragging it out, but that it could extend the deadline a bit as it has done in similar instances in the past.
CAP technical standards info:
EAS-CAP Industry Group, with CAP to EAS Implementation Guide: