A new document aimed at providing guidance to cable operators regarding adoption of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) for broadcast of warnings and information through the Emergency Alert System has been released by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE).

SCTE 179 2012, Recommended Practice on Upgrading EAS to CAP Compliance, lists the key steps needed to upgrade to CAP; it includes a suggested technical and operational checklist to assist in preparations for the carriage of CAP messages.

The document can be downloaded free of charge from the Standards section on the SCTE Web site.

“The guidance provided in SCTE 179 will help ensure that the necessary tasks are completed before the required date of compliance,” SCTE notes. The SCTE Standards Program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

The background: Since 1999, all multichannel video program distributors, including cable operators, have been required to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Alert System, created to give the President the ability to communicate quickly with the country in the event of a national emergency.  More commonly, the EAS is used by state and local agencies to inform the public of emergency events, such as adverse weather, hazardous spills and AMBER alerts.

In September 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced its adoption of the CAP standard for EAS. All EAS participants are required to support the CAP standard including the purchase and installation of Integrated Public Alerting and Warning System (IPAWS) hardware and software by June 30, 2012.

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