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NAB Asks FCC to Delay CAP-EAS Deadline

It’s also unclear whether the FCC will implement its own equipment certification testing program, says the broadcast trade association

The NAB has asked the FCC to extend the deadline by which broadcasters must be able to accept Common Alerting Protocol-formatted EAS messages.

In comments filed with the commission this week, the broadcast trade association asked for another extension, 180 days following the effective date of the rules adopted in the EAS proceeding. NAB said the current Sept. 30 deadline would not give stations enough time to consider the rules ultimately adopted by the agency as they make decisions to buy CAP-compliant EAS equipment.

Further, “There is also the continuing uncertainty as to whether the commission will implement its own equipment certification testing program, separate from FEMA’s conformance testing,” writes NAB, or whether the commission may revise its Part 11 rules in a way that requires manufacturers to change their design specs, or perhaps even require stations that have already purchased updated EAS gear to refurbish their equipment in some way. NAB believes it’s also appropriate to extend the deadline because “the large majority of EAS message originators,” like state and local authorities, “will not be prepared to send a CAP-enabled message for the foreseeable future.”

Overall, NAB supports the FCC’s transitional glide path to the use of a next-gen EAS.

The trade association agrees with the agency’s proposal to retain the traditional EAS while participants implement the Common Alerting Protocol in parallel. The nation needs a redundant EAS avenue, states NAB, because “the National Weather Service, and many state and local authorities, which issue the vast majority of EAS alerts, have no immediate plans to initiate CAP-formatted EAS messages.”

Public comments were due to Docket 04-296 this week.

— Leslie Stimson