FCC extends deadline on CAP EAS implementation


Responding to an industry-wide request for more time, the FCC has agreed to add 180 days to the deadline for compliance with new Emergency Alert System requirements associated with FEMA and the new Common Alerting Protocol. The deadline, which was set to expire 3/29/11, has been moved back to 9/30/11.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers had submitted comments, on behalf of MSTV, PBS, NPR, 46 state broadcaster associations, all of which added signatures, bringing up a laundry list of problems with the March deadline.
The FCC noted the major concerns in a single paragraph:

“The Bureau received 14 comments and 10 replies to the Part 11 PN, the vast majority of which asserted that 180 days was an insufficient period to fulfill the mandate of the CAP reception requirement. Commenters variously stated that a 180-day cycle does not comport with vendors’ and EAS Participants’ budgeting schedules and, moreover, is insufficient given the relatively small number of manufacturing companies versus the large number of EAS Participants, the need for customer testing and approval (which alone may take more than 180 days), insufficient guidance regarding whether the FCC would require certification of CAP-compliant equipment, FEMA’s recently announced conformance testing of such equipment, uncertainty regarding encoder/decoder reactions to an EAN (the national alert event code), and a lack of provision for unforeseen events. Even the single commenter that stated that the 180-day clock was sufficient for itself conceded that ‘[s]ome segments of the user base, such as wireless and cable providers, have acceptance cycles that last longer than 180 days’ and advised that should the Commission waive the deadline, a waiver should not be for ‘longer than a year.’”