September 30, 2011 Deadline for EAS CAP Compliance


The FCC has set a deadline of September 30, 2011 by which all Emergency Alert System (EAS)participants must implement the new Common Alerting Protocol 1.2 (CAP). The requirement applies to broadcasters, cable companies, satellite operators and wireline video providers.

Initially, compliance was to have been required by March 31, 2011, but the Commission recognized that more time would be needed to develop, certify and market compliant equipment.

Replacement or upgrading of older EAS equipment will be needed in order to receive and

decode CAP-formatted messages and incorporate them into EAS output.

By way of background, the FCC had revised its EAS rules in 2007 to adopt the CAP requirement, subject to publication of specific technical standards for CAP-formatted EAS alerts

by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That publication occurred on September 30, 2010 and was to have triggered a 180-day clock for full compliance, which a

broad spectrum of parties had protested as insufficient. The FCC now has agreed.

CAP is intended to increase the flexibility, scope and efficiency of EAS alerts to provide security

and enable a variety of formats (text, audio and video) across multiple platforms. It also requires the transmission of state and local EAS alerts that are originated by governors or their designeesin states that have an FCC-approved plan providing for delivery of such alerts.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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