FCC Proposes National EAS Testing
January 15, 2010 at 4:30 AM (PT)
The FCC has issued a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for comment on its proposal to establish national testing of the Emergency Alert System.
In proposing national testing of the system, the Commission said, "neither the EAS nor its predecessor national alerting systems have been used to deliver a national Presidential alert. Moreover, while our Part 11 rules provide for periodic testing of EAS at the state and local level, no systematic national test of the EAS has ever been conducted to determine whether the system would in fact function as required should the President issue a national alert, and, in their current form, our EAS rules do not mandate any such test."
Noting that the "daisy chain" structure of the EAS system makes it "potentially vulnerable to 'single point of failure' problems," the proposal sets up a national testing procedure with tests scheduled by the FCC with FEMA, the latter agency sending out a coded EAS message. The yearly national test would replace the regular required monthly test in the month it is scheduled, and stations would have 30 days to send test-related diagnostic information to the Commission, including whether the test was received and retransmitted as scheduled, plus additional information.