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ACA Applauds FCC For Adding Time To Develop Common Alert Protocol Regs

The Federal Communications Commission announced Sept. 16 its decision to extend to June 30, 2012, the deadline for cable operators to come into compliance with the Emergency Alert System's (EAS) Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). The FCC's action came after many stakeholders, including the American Cable Association, explained the urgent need for more time for the FCC to resolve the remaining issues surrounding CAP compliance, and then for testing and implementing the new CAP system.

"On behalf of all ACA members, I want to applaud the FCC for postponing until June 30, 2012 the deadline for cable operator compliance with the EAS's new CAP technology, which should provide a window of time for EAS participants to be certain that the actions they take will indeed comply with final CAP requirements," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

In seeking a postponement, ACA stressed that providing more time for CAP implementation would serve the public interest.

"With its decision, the FCC is providing cable operators with adequate time to ensure that their investments in CAP equipment and solutions will result in compliance in the most cost effective manner. By agreeing with ACA that moving the EAS CAP compliance deadline back by a reasonable period of time would serve the public interest, the FCC has given itself additional time to offer required guidance regarding the obligations it will ultimately place on EAS participants, including the range of compliance options that will be available to cable operators," Polka said.

ACA said the additional nine month will give all EAS participate adequate time to prepare, adding that the original Sept. 30, 2011 deadline was untenable.

"As ACA explained in its July 20 comments, the FCC had left unanswered many significant questions regarding the codification of specific obligations for CAP functionality. With the additional nine months announced today, the FCC has time to provide complete guidance well before cable companies and equipment vendors need to come into compliance with CAP requirements. ACA is pleased the FCC understood that the original Sept. 30, 2011 deadline was premature and next to impossible for ACA members and others to meet," Polka said.

The FCC's action, Polka stressed, will not interfere with the public's ability to receive EAS warnings.

"The viewing public continues to be protected under the current EAS protocol. The new CAP compliance deadline won't interfere in any way with the ability of cable customers to continue receiving emergency alerts as they do today, but will ensure a better functioning emergency alert system in the future," Polka said.

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