FCC Proposes Changes to the Emergency Alert System


In response to Congress’s directives in the National Defense Authorization Act, 2021, to strengthen emergency alerts, the FCC has proposed changes to the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts — reforming the way the public receives emergency notices on their mobile phones, television, and radios.  

The FCC has proposed: (1) combining the “Presidential Alerts” category with alerts from the FEMA Administrator to create the non-optional alert class “National Alerts;” (2) encouraging all states to form State Emergency Communications Committees or to review the current composition and governance of existing committees; (3) providing a checklist for the information in annual submissions of state Emergency Alert System plans and amending the process for the FCC’s review of those plans; (4) specifying that government agencies may report false emergency alerts to the FCC’s 24/7 Operations Center; and (5) requiring that certain alerts are able to be repeated over television and radio when the government alert originator requests it.  The Commission also adopted a Notice of Inquiry to explore the possibility of sending Emergency Alert System alerts through the internet, including through streaming services.

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