Broadcasters, Cable Operators Get More Time forEAS Compliance

Broadcasters and cable operators will have more time to implement the next generation emergency alert system (EAS), according to the FCC.

The commission announced Tuesday that it will move the deadline for compliance from March 29, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2011.

"We are pleased to provide the extension to broadcasters and other EAS participants to come into CAP-compliance," said Admiral James Barnett, chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. "It is critical that we get this right from the beginning and after weighing considerable public input calling for an extension, we believe today's action to do so provides broadcasters and other EAS participants with greater flexibility to meet the technical requirements for delivering next generation emergency alerts to the public."

In addition, the extension applies to satellite radio and television operators and wireline video service providers, or essentially everyone who will be adopting the next-generation system for emergency alerts.

In 2007, the FCC set a communications industry compliance deadline of 180 days after FEMA adopted the standard for the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)-formatted emergency messages, but has extended that "based on public comment and a specific recommendation by the FCC's Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council, a federal advisory committee, calling for an extension."

The extension is to give broadcasters, cable operators and others sufficient time for "development, testing and potential certification of the new equipment." The FCC also said it took into account the cost of buying the new compliant equipment in extending the deadline.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.