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FCC Plowing Through 16,000 Reports on National EAS Tests

Satellite coverage planned for PEPs

While federal officials focus on the June 30 deadline by which stations must have operational EAS equipment that can receive and retransmit alerts formatted with Common Alerting Protocol, planning continues for the future.

Primary Entry Point stations continue to be upgraded and FEMA is adding satellite coverage to improve connectivity, control the PEPS and mitigate issues (like double audio) that occurred at the PEP level during the national EAS test last November. That’s according to FEMA IPAWS Program Manager Manny Centeno, speaking during an EAS webinar on Wednesday. Centeno didn’t go into detail about that.

Sixty three PEPs have been upgraded and construction continues on six others, building out to a total of 77. IPAWS Program Manager Al Kenyon said they’ve recently installed communication lines and shipped equipment to a PEP in Guam while construction on a PEP in American Samoa was completed last week.

Officials reiterated what they said at the recent NAB Show, that there are no plans to conduct another national EAS test this year.

The FCC is digging through some 16,000 reports it has received about the national test. The findings reveal that state plans must be updated regularly to make sure stations are monitoring the correct station in their market to receive the alert. The FCC is still going through the data and talking to FEMA and states about how to amend state EAS plans, said Greg Cooke, associate chief of the Policy Division of the FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau.

While most stations are monitoring the correct stations, allowing them to receive and send an EAN, an initial informal review indicates some monitoring assignments are old and don’t offer redundancies, he said.