Waiver to Allow Wireless Emergency Alert PSAs Extended

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The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has granted a waiver extension request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The 18-month extension will allow FEMA to continue to broadcast simulated Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Attention Signals in public service announcements (PSAs) as part of its campaign to educate the public about the WEA system.  The WEA system, established in 2008, allows authorized government agencies to send geographically targeted emergency alerts to commercial wireless subscribers who have WEA-capable devices and whose service providers have elected to offer the service.  FEMA initiated a public education campaign detailing how WEA works in response to negative consumer feedback when hearing the WEA attention signal for the first time.  Commission rules generally prohibit broadcast or transmission of emergency alert signals in cases other than an actual emergency or authorized test.  The Bureau extended FEMA’s waiver on the condition that the PSAs present the WEA Attention Signal in a non-misleading manner – that is, in a manner that does not mislead the listening or viewing public into erroneously concluding that an actual emergency message is being transmitted.

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