The Society of Broadcast Engineers, in conjunction with a wide coalition of broadcaster organizations, is asking for more time to come into compliance with new EAS guidelines. At issue is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) adoption of the new Common Alerting Protocol, and kick-off of a 180-day clock terminating in a 3/29/11 deadline in advance of companion regulation for the FCC, creating the prospect of broadcasters purchasing equipment rendered obsolete instantly when the FCC completes its rulemaking.
MSTV, PBS, NPR, 46 state broadcaster associations and other organizations are signatory to the SBE comments.
What SBE is asking for is an additional 180 days, basically putting compliance with the FEMA regulations off for almost a full year, and giving the FCC to weigh in on specifications for the new EAS.
“Without an extension,” wrote SBE, “the 180 day clock is set to expire March 29, 2011. At that time, stations would need to have purchased and installed CAP-compliant equipment, capable of receiving CAP messages.”
Without the extention, SBE says in a fact sheet that it “…is concerned that stations will be required to purchase equipment capable of CAP with no assurance that the equipment will comply with required, imminent and perhaps inevitable changes to FCC rules that will make the next generation emergency communications system possible.”
The full SBE FAQ on the topic is available here.