CEA Urges FCC to Expand NOAA Weather Radio Use, Avoid Equipment Mandates

CEA Urges FCC to Expand NOAA Weather Radio Use, Avoid Equipment Mandates
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The Consumer Electronics Association says the FCC should expand distribution of non-weather emergency messages using NOAA National Weather Radio.
It made the recommendation in comments filed with the FCC as the agency reviews the impact of Hurricane Katrina on communications networks.
CEA restated its belief that it is important for the commission to consider the full array of emergency alerts, saying that NOAA Weather Radio has developed into an effective collection and distribution system estimated to originate more than 96 percent of all emergency alerts.
Thus the NWR delivery system today would be more appropriately named "all-hazards radio" than "weather radio," the trade association argues.
EAS has evolved into a voluntary system in which broadcasters exercise discretion over which alerts to transmit, and NWR is a critical component providing broadcasters almost immediate access to the emergency alerts; closer integration of EAS and NWR would serve to improve awareness of these facilities and quicken dissemination of emergency information, CEA said.
The electronics group urged the commission to avoid mandatory standards on reception equipment, citing its Public Alert Technology Alliance as one example of industry effort to bring product manufacturers and government representatives together.
With collaboration from NOAA, that alliance has adopted voluntary requirements for consumer receivers that display the Public Alert logo and trigger alerts by decoding the digital data string transmitted over NWR broadcasts. The Public Alert-certified devices also provide automatic translation for alerts into English, Spanish and Canadian French and alert technology for the hearing impaired, the group said.

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