FCC Launches EAS Test Reporting System

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The FCC has released a public notice announcing to all Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants that the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) is operational and ready to accept filings. The public notice also includes initial instructions on how EAS Participants are to begin the ETRS filing process. Finally, the public notice seeks comment on the recommendations adopted by the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) on June 22, 2016, for updating the EAS Operating Handbook. ETRS, a project jointly administered by the FCC and FEMA, is designed to increase the reliability and value proposition of the EAS while minimizing the reporting burdens on EAS Participants.  Specifically, the ETRS will be able to accurately chart what happened in a particular test when an emergency alert is released.  For instance, state and federal agency alert originators can identify single points of failure, poor transmission paths, and coverage gaps before they can potentially cause a system failure.  ETRS is built to be scalable so that it can deliver reports on everything from county-wide to nationwide emergency alerts.  Furthermore, ETRS is built on a platform that can be easily integrated with other FCC databases, such as the outage and licensing databases.  Accordingly, it can leverage data that enhances the reliability of the EAS while at the same time reducing the need to re-collect data that EAS participants have already provided via other databases. On April 18, 2016, the FCC released a public notice announcing the basic format and features of the ETRS. Actual ETRS testing is tentatively scheduled for September 2016.

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