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FCC Considers Requiring Streamers to Deliver Emergency Alerts

A man using his phone while watching TV
(Image credit: Maskot via Getty Images)

The FCC is scheduled to vote at its next public meeting on opening an inquiry into whether it can or should require new distribution outlets, including websites and streaming services, to deliver emergency alerts.

Currently those alerts are delivered via TV, radio and phone, but Congress in the Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act directed the FCC to "examine the feasibility of modernizing the Emergency Alert System" by expanding it to those platforms.

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That bill also directs the FCC to "facilitate coordination with State Emergency Communications Committees in developing and modernizing State Emergency Alert System plans."

In announcing the agenda for the March 17 meeting, acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said the FCC would consider a rulemaking implementing the READI Act mandate by proposing "new rules to keep the public safe and informed during emergencies and disasters, and an inquiry on whether it would be possible to deliver emergency alerts via other forms of communications."

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The FCC will release a draft of the rulemaking Wednesday (Feb. 24).