Broadcasters—including public, education and government channels—that use “common alerting protocol” (CAP) equipment to be notified of an “emergency alert system” (EAS) transmission, need to ensure the device conforms to the U.S. government standards.
On Dec. 27, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted a Federal Register notice—Review of the Emergency Alert System—which directs EAS participants “that have purchased or are considering purchase of any type of EAS equipment to verify with manufacturers and/or vendors that the equipment complies with current FCC rules.”
The notice is necessary because the FCC has “noted that some equipment vendors may be marketing equipment—intermediary devices—that connects in some fashion with previously certified EAS equipment to allow that equipment to receive CAP-formatted alerts in the legacy EAS format.”
The FCC sought comment on a number of issues regarding those devices, including whether they must be certified under current EAS rules and whether they satisfy the FCC’s CAP-related requirements, according to the notice. Although the FCC plans to address those issues, “it appears that some EAS participants may have purchased such equipment.”
Therefore, the FCC “reminds EAS participants that equipment that meets the definition of an encoder or a decoder” must be certified under current FCC rules, and equipment used to receive CAP formatted, EAS alerts “must, at a minimum, comply with the CAP requirements,” the notice says.
In addition, while the FCC is not now making a decision on whether current “intermediary devices comply with these requirements, it is unclear whether any equipment that does not meet these current baseline requirements will be able to satisfy any CAP-related rules” that might be later adopted, the commission says. Because of that, the FCC “urges EAS participants that have purchased or are considering purchase of any type of EAS equipment to verify with manufacturers and/or vendors that the equipment complies with current FCC rules.”