FCC Says CMAS is now WEA

On February 26, 2013, in CMAS & Mobile Alerts, by with SRA International

WEAYesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Order DA 13-280, stating that the Commission is revising its Part 10 rules by changing the name Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) to Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).  These are the wireless alert system technical rules governing the participating cellular wireless carriers, which the FCC calls Commercial Mobile Service Providers (CMSPs).  This change is effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Continue reading »

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FCC Bureau Scrutinizes Nation’s Wireless Infrastructure

On February 4, 2013, in News, by with SRA International

FCC-LogoAs noted last October here on AWARE, one of the priorities of incoming FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) Chief David Turetsky was to investigate the communications outages that occurred during the June 2012 derecho event.  The FCC has now released a PSHSB report on the impacts of the storm and recommendations for improvements to the nation’s communications systems. Continue reading »

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Targeted Alerts on FM Radio

On December 6, 2012, in Emergency Alert System, Future Alerting, by with SRA International

Could FM broadcasters someday soon be able to send geo-targeted emergency alerts to their audience? A recent series of articles in Radio World Magazine highlight a new, experimental technology called ZoneCasting, which allows FM broadcast stations to geo-target program content to specific zones in their coverage areas. While designed to target advertising, purveyors of the system point out that it can be used to target emergency alerts as well.

Continue reading »

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FCC Making Emergency Info More Accessible to Visually-Impaired

On November 27, 2012, in News, by with SRA International

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on November 19, 2012 that seeks to make televised emergency information more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

FCC rules already require that visual emergency information presented in a regularly-scheduled newscast, or in a newscast that interrupts programming, must also be presented on the primary audio channel.  The new proposed rule would require that emergency information presented outside of a newscast, such as using a crawl message across the screen, must be accompanied by an audio tone and the details then presented aurally on a secondary audio stream. Continue reading »

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FirstNet 101

On November 26, 2012, in General, by with SRA International

This is the first in an occasional series of updates on the National Public Safety Broadband Network. 

Broadband is a big issue for our readers–especially where it  intersects with alerts and warnings. You have probably read one of the more popular examples of how first responders will be able to use broadband, by allowing them to send and receive video and data. However, it is also being recommended that the FCC begin exploring next generation alerting systems, where alerts are delivered via broadband. These alerts could include video and the capability to reach those communities now underserved, such as persons with disabilities and non-English speakers. We at AWARE thought it was time to take a closer look at the National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), beginning with some background information. Continue reading »

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