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FCC Advisory Group Makes EAS-CAP Recommendations

Among them: Clarify “Governor Must Carry,” require commission hardware certification and extend the clock

An advisory group to the FCC has prepared a report with more than 30 recommendations about upgrading EAS with the new Common Alerting Protocol.

The group is chaired by Pat Roberts, head of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and co-chaired by Damon Penn of FEMA. It is part of the larger Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council.

Among the recommendations, which were presented at a meeting late last week at FCC headquarters by FEMA’s Damon Penn:

  • -Consider extending the 180-day clock to be no less than one year.
  • -Consider adoption of EAS-CAP industry group implementation guidelines
  • -Clarify how “Governor Must Carry” messages will be implemented
  • -Require EAS participants to monitor multiple IP-based CAP alert sources
  • -Revise EAS equipment requirement tables to reflect the range of new CAP EAS equipment that will be required
  • -Add Ethernet input and multiple IP source requirements

The working group’s report is expected to become part of final council recommendations to the commission, though that step has not yet been taken. However, the full council did immediately endorse the recommendation that the CAP deadline be extended.

The detailed findings are here, starting with Slide 5.

The group also recommended FCC certification for CAP EAS devices. “IPAWS NIMS conformance testing only provides verification of a project-specific CAP data format, and is therefore necessary for the IPAWS project, but not sufficient for the overall CAP-EAS endeavor. The proper CAP-to-EAS translation function is not included in the IPAWS NIMS conformance tests.”

Other factors the commission must consider are how long it will take EAS participants to obtain IP connectivity to receive the CAP EAN as well as the timetable for equipment procurement, installation and testing.

Many portions of Part 11 rules will need to be reviewed given FEMA’s adoption of CAP, the group concluded; but planned changes to EAS provide a “unique opportunity to improve emergency messaging capabilities and address needs of diverse stakeholder groups.”

CSRIC provides recommendations to the FCC to ensure, among other things, the security and reliability of communications systems including telecommunications, media and public safety. The working group for CAP includes representatives from the NAB, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security, Emmis Communications, AT&T, SpectraRep, the NAACP, Verizon and the National Association of State EMS Officials.