FCC Report Summarizes August 2019 Nationwide EAS Test
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | Comments

The FCC released the final report summarizing the Aug. 7, 2019, nationwide test of the emergency alert system (EAS) using only the broadcast-based distribution system, otherwise known as the daisy chain. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the FCC, conducted the test.

The purpose of the 2019 test was to evaluate the readiness of EAS participants to receive and, in turn, retransmit the alert to other stations, in the absence of Internet connectivity. This was the fifth nationwide EAS test.

A final analysis of the test found that a large majority of the EAS participants successfully received the national periodic test (NPT) code, or as required by the commission’s rules, retransmitted the NPT to other EAS participants. The test thus demonstrated that the national EAS distribution architecture is largely effective as designed. As anticipated, the test also shed light on challenges that impeded the ability of some EAS participants to receive and/or retransmit the NPT.

The overall results of the 2019 nationwide EAS test demonstrate the following:
• The broadcast-based distribution method is largely effective, with the capability to reach 82.5% of the EAS participants;
• Participation rates by EAS participants in the nationwide test increased since last year;
• Success of the broadcast-based distribution system is dependent on the proper functioning of the initial stations in the daisy chain, which must be able to successfully receive and retransmit the alert to the stations below them; and
• Stations increase their chances of receiving and retransmitting the alert when they monitor multiple reliable monitoring sources. Multiple monitoring sources add redundancy to the system. When one source fails, the other helps to maximize the potential for successful receipt and retransmission of the alert.

The report identifies areas for improvement regarding technical and operational performance. The report includes recommended next steps that FCC has taken since the 2018 nationwide EAS test and plans to take in light of this year’s results. Similarly, it recommends actions that EAS Participants can take to improve the reliability and reach of the EAS.

The full report is here.

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