The FCC has changed its Part 11 rules governing the Emergency Alert System so that broadcasters may, but are not required to, use text-to-speech functions for the Common Alerting Protocol delivery of alerting messages.
Publication in the Federal Register triggered the change, which went into effect May 7. RW reported in April that this was the FCC’s intention.
The commission previously had banned TTS, saying it didn’t have a lot of information on the record that convinced the agency “it could go another way,” the FCC’s Tom Beers told attendees at the recent NAB Show.
Broadcasters, EAS equipment manufacturers and FEMA lobbied the agency to change its stance, saying without the use of TTS, some equipment might just pass along alert tones, but no audio.
The commission did state in April that it was deferring action, not making a final decision; so it’s possible that it might revisit this question at some point.
FCC Shifts Course on Text to Speech (April 2012)