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FCC Reconsiders Text-to-Speech for EAS

04.19.12 – The FCC issued an Order on Reconsideration “In the Matter of Amendment of the Review of the Emergency Alert System” [EB Docket No. 04-296] reconsidering the Commission’s rules on the use of text-to-speech (TTS) by Emergency Alert System (EAS) participants. On January 10, 2012, the FCC released a Fifth Report and Order which required EAS participants to convert and process CAP messages into a format outlined in the EAS-CAP Industry Group’s (ECIG) Implementation Guide.  However, at the time, the rules barred the use of TTS technology when the CAP message does not include an audio file, noting that “accuracy and reliability of TTS had not been established in the record.”  Following a “Petition for Reconsideration,” filed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which stated that a lack of TTS could lead to possible disruptions of National Weather Service alerts or a lack of information for subscribers, and similar filings from stakeholders, the FCC has revised section 11.56(a)(2) of the rules and will allow EAS participants to adhere to the TTS specifications included in the ECIG Implementation guide on a voluntary basis.  This reconsideration will become effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Registrar. [Source: FCC]

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