Responding to the requests of equipment manufacturers, broadcast groups and state associations, the Federal Communications Commission is giving more time for those wanting to comment on proposed Emergency Alert System rule changes.
The new comment date is June 8. Reply comments are due July 8.
In January the commission released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making that proposed a set of changes to Part 11of the commission’s EAS rules. An initial due date for comments on the NPRM was set for March 24 with deadline for reply comments June 7 of this year.
But a number of commenters reached out to the commission in April to share their concerns. Monroe Electronics said the industry needed additional time to adequately consider the questions raised by the commission due to the “sweeping scope” of several sections of the proposed rulemaking. Similar requests came from other industry groups, including the Broadcast Warning Working Group, the Washington State Emergency Communications Committee and the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations.
NASBA said the substantial number of changes to state EAS plans, the frequency of live code testing and the use of social media platforms necessitate an extension. It would give the alliance time to prepare comments that “adequately and accurately reflect the views and input of the State Broadcasters Associations and their respective local broadcast members.”
The commission says it does not typically grant extensions of time except when, among other things, additional time will serve the public interest.“We acknowledge that a cross section of affected stakeholders agree that providing additional time for interested parties to file comments would be beneficial to the development of a thorough and complete record,” the commission said in its order. The FCC moved to grant a 30-day extension to the comment periods, although both BWWG and Monroe had requested a 45-day extension.
Extensions in response to industry requests do happen from time to time. The FCC 2011 when extended the deadline for operators to implement a new next-gen messaging protocol that would be used to send out emergency alerts and warnings to the public.