Could EAS CAP-Compliance Deadline Be Delayed?

Third NPRM invites comment on lots of gear certification questions, too
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Third NPRM invites comment on lots of gear certification questions, too

It appears that the Federal Communications Commission is still considering a lot of changes in the migration from EAS to next-gen delivery — including whether the fall deadline for stations to have CAP-compliant encoders/decoders in place should be delayed a second time.

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That Sept. 30 deadline is one of several questions on which the commission is inviting comment in a third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The NPRM involves changing the FCC’s Part 11 rules to codify the obligation to process alert messages in the Common Alerting Protocol format and at the same time lay the foundation for transitioning to next-gen EAS.

In the 110-page document, the commission asks whether the Sept. 30 deadline for CAP-compliance is sufficient or whether it should be extended or changed somehow so the deadline is triggered by an action different than FEMA’s adoption of CAP.

The agency has tentatively concluded that CAP-formatted alert messages entered into the EAS system should be converted into and processed the same way as messages formatted in the EAS protocol. It also seeks comment on whether to allow EAS participants to deploy intermediary devices that convert CAP-formatted messages into EAS protocol-formatted messages.

Regarding equipment certification, the commission asks whether and how to incorporate compliance with CAP functionality into its existing certification scheme, including how the agency should implement conformance testing. It asks what requirements the FCC should adopt for modified EAS gear, and whether it should classify intermediary devices as stand-alone devices subject to the same certification requirements as stand-alone encoders/decoders.

Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register to EB Docket 04-296.

— Leslie Stimson