The FCC Wants to Strengthen the EAS

By Kevin Eck 

The Federal Communications Commission is looking to upgrade the Emergency Alert System.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted by the Commission today includes the following proposals:

Encourage more strategic engagement in EAS at the state and local levels by streamlining, automating, and improving the utility of state EAS plans filed with the FCC


Authorize state and local alert originators and EAS participants to conduct periodic “live” EAS tests, provided that steps are taken to prevent public confusion

Allow federal, state, and local governments to issue public service announcements using the EAS Attention Signal (i.e., sound), provided that they are presented in a non-misleading and technically harmless manner.

The NPRM also is looking for input on:

Measures to enhance EAS security, such as whether EAS participants should be required to submit an annual certification that they are following EAS security best practices

Whether technological advancements have improved the ability of cable providers to offer more specific and informative alert content and, if so, whether the Commission should retain certain related rule provisions

Assessing and meeting public expectations for receiving alerts as content is viewed across different technology platforms

How community-based alerting exercises can best meet the needs of individuals with limited English proficiency and those with disabilities.