FCC Extends EAS To Satellite, Opens Proceeding For "Next-Gen" Alert System
November 3, 2005 at 9:15 PM (PT)
The FCC late THURSDAY extended the Emergency Alert System to satellite radio as well as all other digital broadcast and subscription TV and radio services. The First Report and Order requires all such services, including satellite subscription radio, to comply with EAS rules by DECEMBER 31, 2006 (except for DBS services like DIRECTV and DISH NETWORK, which have until MAY 31, 2007).
At the same time, the Commission issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to investigate a "next-generation" alert and warning system for digital media, seeking comment on technical issues and intergation of wireless technologies as well as state and local participation.
Chairman KEVIN MARTIN issued a statement saying that the Commission's action "will ensure that all television viewers and radio listeners have access to national and/or regional public alerts and warnings in the event of an emergency." He noted the need for a redundant, comprehensive system in the wake of the hurricanes, adding that he looks forward to "working with my fellow Commissioners to develop a public alert and warning system that is wide-reaching and furthers the Commission’s core mission of promoting public safety through a robust communications system."
Concurring, Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS said that he is "pleased that we are moving to expand EAS into the new digital technologies that so many Americans are using" but that any new system should reach all Americans regardless of primary language and should be clear as to which state or local authorities can activate the system.