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FCC Extends CAP-EAS Deadline

New date to comply is Sept. 30, 2011. ‘It is critical that we get this right from the beginning’

The FCC has heard the concerns from broadcasters and manufacturers about having enough time for stations to purchase, install and test new EAS gear, and it has extended the deadline.

The new deadline for all EAS participants to implement new CAP-EAS technology is Sept. 30, 2011. The previous deadline would have been March 29, 2011.

The move comes about a month after NAB, the SBE, NPR and several television groups had asked for an extension in a joint petition, and it was widely thought among EAS observers that an extension would be forthcoming.

In 2007, the FCC required all EAS participants to have the capability to receive Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)-formatted EAS messages within 180 days of FEMA’s adoption of a CAP standard.

Jamie Barnett, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, stated, “We are pleased to provide the extension to broadcasters and other EAS participants to come into CAP-compliance. It is critical that we get this right from the beginning and after weighing considerable public input calling for an extension, we believe today’s action to do so provides broadcasters and other EAS participants with greater flexibility to meet the technical requirements for delivering next generation emergency alerts to the public.”

The FCC’s decision to provide an extension was based on public comment and a specific recommendation by the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council, an advisory committee, calling for an extension of the CAP-compliance deadline.

CSRIC and others cited multiple factors when calling for an extension, including the need for more time for the development, testing and potential certification of equipment and the costs associated with purchasing the CAP-compliant equipment. The FCC said it took these factors into consideration and extended the deadline to 360 days for EAS participants to come into compliance.

Commissioner Robert McDowell said the agency’s action “provides the necessary flexibility for handling the pragmatic, nuts-and-bolts challenges associated with this substantial undertaking.”