FCC Harmonizes EAS Rules Impacting Sirius-XM, DISH, DirecTV

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The FCC has released an Order on Reconsideration that harmonizes the Commission’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules impacting both Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) providers and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) providers, of which Sirius-XM, DISH Network, and DirecTV are the major service providers. Specifically, the new rules will amend Section 11.61 of the Commission’s rules by adding a subsection that outlines the new testing parameters of SDARS providers and striking the old language in a different subsection. While DBS and SDARS are both subject to EAS requirements, their testing requirements today differ. Since 2005, Sirius-XM has petitioned the Commission to modify its EAS rules so that SDARS providers no longer have overly complicated weekly tests, and instead, have EAS testing requirements that are similar to DISH Network and DirecTV. In the last few years, Sirius-XM modified its petition to the point where the relief sought was much less than what was requested previously. The new rules will become effective 30 days after they are published in the Federal Register sometime later this summer.

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