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FCC To Await Congress On Emergency Alert

Look for the FCC to keep its open proceeding on a revised emergency alert system open until the end of the year.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday that he would be willing to delay that proceeding's conclusion to give Congress a chance to weigh in on its own proposal for a wireless-based alert system.

Senator Jim Demint (R-S.C.) told Martin that he expected his bill to pass the Senate Tuesday, and a complementary House bill to pass before the end of the year, saying that if the FCC continued along its paralell track, the result might be a government-issue, "one-size-fits-all" approach that "does not use the innovative technologies that we have."

His bill, he countered, paves the way for a marketplace approach that is flexible enough to capitalize on the newest wireless technology to provide key information on natural disasters and other emergencies.

Martin said the commission always welcomed an opportunity to, as Demint put it, "capture the will of Congress."