The Commission’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Further NPRM”) regarding the next generation Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) has been published in the Federal Register, setting the date for Comments as December 3, 2007 and the date for Reply Comments as December 17, 2007. This summer, the Commission adopted a Report and Order extending its EAS Rules to wireless services, and adjusting the rules to better serve the needs of persons with disabilities and non-English speakers. The Report and Order also expanded the base of EAS participants, included state-level and geographically targeted EAS alerts, and improved coordination with state and local governments. A copy of the FCC’s Report and Order and the Further NPRM can be obtained here.
The Further NPRM raises additional questions regarding how the EAS rules can be adjusted to ensure that non-English speakers and persons with disabilities are reached by EAS messages. In addition, the Further NPRM seeks input regarding whether local, county, tribal, or other state governmental entities be allowed to initiate mandatory state and local alerts, and if so, what standards or requirements be imposed in initiating an EAS message. Finally, the rulemaking seeks comment on options for ensuring that the EAS operates as designed in an emergency, and posits several options for measuring performance. Comments can be filed with the Commission in paper or electronically via ECFS, and should refer to EB Docket No. 04-296.