As announced last week here on AWARE, the FCC has extended into 2012 the original September 30, 2011 deadline for broadcasters and cable operators to have Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment installed capable of receiving alerts in the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) format. The good news today from Wade Witmer, Deputy Director of the FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Division, is that FEMA remains committed to having the IPAWS EAS CAP feed ready for use by broadcasters and cable operators by the original September 30th date. A web address URL will be announced shortly for programming into the EAS CAP units already in the field, and Deputy Director Witmer stated that FEMA will be sending frequent test messages for users to confirm continuity. He said that any real alerts will be relayed via the system as well, as local and state authorities gain access to IPAWS, and that the National Weather Service is slated to begin issuing weather alerts via IPAWS in November 2011.
Also of interest to broadcasters and cable operators is that Wade Witmer said he anticipates the FCC will issue its revised EAS rules addressing CAP by the end of the year. This is the first we have heard from anyone in the federal government on an expected timeline for these all-important rules. Stay tuned to AWARE for updates.
And while I have your eyeballs, please come back to AWARE tomorrow for my contribution to our AWARE Innovations in Alerting Series with my tip of the hat to our federal alerting partners FEMA and FCC, and their strides made in the last 10 years with IPAWS and Next Generation EAS.