The Commission also officially publishes the proposed changes to the alert system
The text has been updated with the deadlines for submitting comments.
The Federal Communications Commission has now officially proposed a number of rule changes “to improve the way the public receives emergency alerts on their mobile phones, televisions and radios”.
We reported earlier that the move was coming. The committee has now adopted both a notice of regulatory proposal and a notice of inquiry.
The NOI is what is likely to attract the most attention from the general public; The FCC will investigate the technical feasibility of broadcasting alerts from the Emergency Alert System via the Internet, including streaming services, and whether it is possible for EAS participants to use the Internet to provide advanced warning capabilities to the public.
It would be a major change in the country’s alert infrastructure.
More immediately, however, the NPRM seeks comment on several more immediate changes the FCC wants to make.
The proposal would create a new mandatory alert class called “National Alerts” by combining the “Presidential Alerts” category, which is not optional on devices that receive wireless emergency alerts, with administrator alerts. from FEMA. In other words, mobile devices would not be allowed to disable FEMA WEA alerts.
This would encourage states to review their emergency communications committees and require that the SECCs meet at least once a year; among other things, EAS plans would no longer be publicly visible on the FCC website for security reasons.
If the changes are enacted, the FCC will also provide a checklist of information to be included in annual submissions of plans to the state’s emergency alert system and will modify the process for reviewing those plans by the commission.
Government agencies would be allowed to report false emergency alerts to the FCC’s 24/7 operations center. And the proposal would require EAS participants to be able to snooze certain alerts on TV and radio when the government whistleblower so requests.
The nation’s emergency alert system and wireless emergency alerts help keep the public safe and informed and are of increasing importance in light of the emergencies and disasters that Americans have faced. in recent years, “the committee noted in an announcement Wednesday.
“In 2018, however, a false emergency alert in Hawaii erroneously warned of the arrival of a ballistic missile and underscored the need to improve these systems. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2021 then instructed the commission to adopt rules to strengthen emergency alerts in various areas. “
The committee also asked for comments on issues such as the adoption of a national security event code.
Update: The FCC has now published comment filing deadlines. Comments in the NPRM are due April 20 and responses May 4. They can be deposited in the FCC Online Feedback System. See PS file numbers 15-91 and 15-94.
Comments in the separate NOI are expected on May 14 and responses on June 14.