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FCC Taking Comments on More Changes to WEA

Efforts to expand and improve that alerting platform continue

The U.S. government wants to make more changes to Wireless Emergency Alerts. If you wish to weigh in, the comment deadlines are now set.

The FCC already made some improvements recently but has more in mind. It is taking comments on a list aimed at improving the WEA system, upgrading its multimedia, multilingual and geo-targeting capabilities and implementing lessons learned since mobile alerts launched.

You can read the document here. The key discussion starts in section II labeled Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. It deals with a range of proposed changes and further questions. For instance one change would require that earthquake-related alerts be delivered to the public in fewer than three seconds, measured from the time an earthquake-related Alert Message is created to when it is delivered and displayed.

Much of this further notice will be of interest only in the mobile space, but the growth and infrastructure of WEA is of increasing interest in the alerting world and has ample overlap with broadcast and EAS. For instance NAB and NPR both have encouraged the commission to recognize the consumer benefits of alert messages that direct the public to turn on radios for additional information during disaster recovery efforts. That was noted in a discussion of the potential role of WEA as a secondary messaging service, a tool for communicating emergency instructions to supplement information the initial message.

Comments are due Dec. 8, with reply comments due Jan. 9, 2017. Submit comments in PS Dockets No. 15-91 and 15-94, FCC 16-127. File here.