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Is EAS Gear-Testing Timeline Realistic?

Forum plans filing and invites contributions

Can the FCC really finish its so-called “conformance” testing on EAS encoders/decoders in time, even given the extra time it got when it extended the station compliance deadline to Sept. 30? Some in the alerting world are questioning that.

We’ve reported that certification for CAP-compliant equipment is underway and that FEMA hopes to finalize and post a list of compliant equipment in March. However that testing is different from the FCC’s testing covering technical compliance with Part 11 issues. Changes to the commission’s Part 11 rules governing EAS aren’t yet complete.

EAS expert Richard Rudman, a member of the EAS Forum, tells me the group believes the FCC must take several steps between now and the end of September.

Those include digesting comments on Part 11 revisions, conducting conformance testing of new EAS gear, both on their own and in combination with legacy equipment, as well as telling manufacturers what changes to make and ensuring those are done, according to Rudman. The final step, he says, is making sure the federal CAP message aggregator can supply all radio, TV and cable entry points with CAP information.

“Based on feedback the Broadcast Working Warning Group, a subgroup of the EAS Forum, has received on our remailer and that we have seen on other EAS issue remailers, for conformance testing to be truly meaningful, the FCC should test all new EAS devices with all legacy EAS equipment,” he said.

The EAS Forum plans to file comments with those suggestions to the commission.