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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
16 Questions & Answers about CAP EAS

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1-What major actions have been taken to date by the Federal Government on   CAP EAS?
2-What government decisions are of particular impact to cable television operations?
3-What does “CAP compliance” really mean and what do cable operators really need to install by September 30th?
4-Why is the IPAWS Conformance Assessment important?
5-Where can cable operators go to see which vendors have passed the IPAWS conformance assessment and have proven CAP compliance?
6-Which CAP products were first to complete the IPAWS conformity assessment process?
7-Could the 30 September 2011 CAP deadline be extended once again by the FCC?
8-Will the FCC issue an additional Rulemaking to update “Part 11” to reflect CAP?
9-What are the specific standards to which CAP EAS equipment needs to conform?
10-What happens if FEMA mandates additional changes to IPAWS data or interface standards?
11-What is the role of IPAWS?
12-What is the relationship between IPAWS and state/local CAP EAS systems?
13-How will cable operators support the so-called “mandatory governor’s alert”
14-What do cable operations need to interface with state and local CAP networks?
15-Is the FCC providing any certification or re-certification of CAP-EAS equipment?
16-What considerations should Cable operators have in mind when evaluating CAP EAS equipment?

Q: What major actions have been taken to date by the Federal Government on CAP EAS?

A: Key Federal actions to date:

  • June 26, 2006 – the President issued Executive Order 13407 which creates the basis for FEMA’s role in adopting CAP and fostering an integrated public alert and warning capability.
  • July 12, 2007 - the FCC released the Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on EAS (FCC 07-109) which revises the FCC Part 11 EAS Rules to include the requirement for EAS participants to implement the ability to accept CAP messaging.. 
  • September 30, 2010 - FEMA announced their adoption of the Common Alerting Protocol, as well as the IPAWS CAP Profile and the EAS-CAP Implementation Guide.  This announcement sets into motion key parts of the FCC rule changes:  This announcement also sets the specifications against which IPAWS Conformance Assessments will be conducted.
  • February 2, 2011 - The FCC adopted a Third Report and Order on EAS (EB Docket 04-296) that sets forth rules intended will facilitate a national live code EAS test by transmitting a Presidential Alert to television and radio broadcasters, cable systems and satellite service providers.  Though the test will use the existing EAS system, there will be FCC reporting requirements that may track what specific equipment EAS participants used for the test.
  • April 19, 2011 – the first manufacturers filed Declarations of Conformance after successful completion of the IPAWS Conformance Assessment process, which CAP EAS products must pass in order to be eligible to connect to the IPAWS network.
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Q: What government decisions are of particular impact to cable television operations?
  • Cable operators – as well as all other EAS Participants - must be able to accept Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v1.2 messages by September 30th 2011, using equipment that has completed the IPAWS Conformity Assessment Process.
  • While FEMA has adopted CAP and other CAP-related specifications, it has not yet released the final interfaces for actually connecting with the IPAWS system, including possible security elements.  Equipment installed by the cable operators must be capable of further software updates to accommodate several anticipated changes by FEMA.
  • Cable operators must configure their systems to incorporate CAP security functions within 180 days after FEMA publishes standards for authentication and validation of CAP alerts.  We are awaiting FEMA’s standards for authentication and validation of CAP alerts.  However, once issued, equipment installed by cable operators must be updated to accommodate these changes.
  • Cable operators must be ready to transmit state-level and geo-targeted local EAS alerts received in CAP format and issued by state governors or their designees, provided that the State(s) in which they operate have submitted FCC-approved State EAS Plans that specify for delivery of such alerts.  Devices installed by cable operators must support the CAP-based capability for mandatory governors’ alerts.
  • Wireline Video Providers (AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS) are now EAS participants.
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Q: What does “CAP compliance” really mean and what do cable operators really need to install by September 30th?

A: Vendors can demonstrate their compliance to CAP and related FEMA data specifications by successfully completing the IPAWS Conformance Assessment process. IPAWS conformance evaluates a number of key elements, including if a product properly adheres to the CAP protocol, the IPAWS CAP profile, the EAS CAP implementation guidelines, as well generate EAS output compliant with FCC Part 11.

The short answer is that cable operators need to have an integrated CAP-EAS encoder-decoder that is FCC-certified - and can prove that it has successfully passed the IPAWS conformance assessment.  Vendors can offer that proof by filing a Suppliers Declaration of Conformance on the FEMA RKB website (www.rkb.us). The One-Net provides an all-in-one “drop-in” solution for Cable systems that need both a new encoder-decoder and a CAP receiver. 

Cable operators should be aware, products that have not passed these tests will not be allowed to attach to the FEMA IPAWS CAP servers rendering them non-compliant to the FCC rules. This means purchasing a product without proven performance could be a very costly decision. It is advised that cable operators only install products that have a Suppliers Declaration of Conformance from the IPAWS testing process.

At the same time, the FCC has advised that the existing EAS system will continue to operate.  The National Weather Service, for example, will continue broadcasting current EAS format messages for the foreseeable future. The Monroe Electronics One-Net – as an FCC certified device – fully supports the existing EAS, integrates CAP, and provides the option of three on-board radio receivers (AM-FM-WX).
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Q: Why is the IPAWS Conformance Assessment important?

A: IPAWS conformance testing determines whether a device can properly process messages coming from the Federal IPAWS system. Equipment will not be provided with the digital certificates to communicate with the IPAWS system unless they have passed conformance testing, and have filed a Suppliers Declaration of Conformance.

Because IPAWS conformance testing assesses adherence to the CAP data format and related specifications, this also provides some assurance that equipment may have data interoperability with other state and local CAP networks. However, IPAWS conformance assessments do not determine whether a device can interface with any a given state or local CAP EAS network.
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Q: Where can cable operators go to see which vendors have passed the IPAWS conformance assessment and have proven CAP compliance?

A:The FEMA Responders Knowledge Base (www.rkb.us) provides a repository of products which have passed the IPAWS conformance assessment process.  Visitors to the site can search by product name, or can visit the IPAWS page at https://www.rkb.us/contentdetail.cfm?content_id=254590 .

Monroe’s R189 One-Net is listed on the Responders Knowledge Base can be seen at https://www.rkb.us/contentdetail.cfm?content_id=252710 . The Suppliers Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) IPAWS conformance certification and declaration details for the Monroe One-Net can be found at https://www.rkb.us/contentdetail.cfm?content_id=254512 .
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Q: Which CAP products were first to complete the IPAWS conformity assessment process?

A: Monroe Electronics and its Digital Alert Systems (DAS) division have were the first to complete Suppliers Declarations of Conformity (SDoC), signaling successful completion of IPAWS testing for the DASDEC™ and the One-Net™ emergency messaging platforms.

The filings were made after successful completion of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Conformity Assessment (CA), which verifies that the R189 One-Net platform conforms to all requirements for receiving alerting messages from the FEMA IPAWS system. The R189 One-Net provides an all-in-one “drop-in” solution for cable operators that fully supports the existing EAS, integrates CAP, and provides the option of three on-board radio receivers (AM-FM-WX).
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Q: Could the 30 September 2011 CAP deadline be extended once again by the FCC?

A: We are not expecting any further extensions to the 30 September deadline at this time, based on comments from FCC staff and other observers. Many of the reasons cited for the first extension have been resolved.
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Q: Will the FCC issue an additional Rulemaking to update "Part 11" to reflect CAP?

A: Yes, our understanding from repeated public statements by FCC officials is that there is a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to be issued in the “near future” that will deal with changes needed in the FCC Part 11 rules to update EAS rules for CAP.  As was noted by FCC officials at a public presentation at the 2011 National Association of Broadcasters (April 2011) conference, the NPRM is likely to include recommendations already made on revising Part 11 that were provided by the FCC Communications Security and Reliability Commission (CSRIC), as well as other filings to date with the FCC.  FCC officials have also stated that the issuance of the NPRM is not likely to require an extension in the September 2011 CAP deadline.
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Q: What are the specific standards to which CAP EAS equipment needs to conform?

A: There are there are several data and system requirements established individually by the FCC and FEMA.  Firstly, CAP EAS equipment must conform to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11 (and Part 15) by holding the appropriate FCC type certifications.

Next, CAP EAS equipment must also demonstrate conformance with FEMA data specifications for the new IPAWS system, which include:

  • the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v1.2 Standard,
  • OASIS CAP v1.2 USA IPAWS Profile
  • CAP EAS Implementation Guide v1.0

The Monroe One-Net EAS Encoder/Decoder is the only unit in service in the cable industry that can meet these various FEMA IPAWS system requirements via a software update and integration with existing State CAP systems with minimal upgrades.  Other manufacturers have acknowledged their products will require either replacement or enhancement with additional equipment.

In addition, there are differing system requirements in many of the States that have deployed their own CAP systems for state and local EAS messaging.  Cable operators are advised to implement CAP EAS equipment that is capable of handling both sets of software and physical interfaces.
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Q: What happens if FEMA mandates additional changes to IPAWS data or interface standards?

A: Monroe Electronics is already aware that FEMA will likely provide additional security and interface specifications for CAP EAS encoders sometime after the September 30, 2011 implementation deadline. Cable operators should be aware that CAP EAS equipment will require updates – potentially multiple updates – as FEMA issues amended requirements for this equipment to interface with the IPAWS aggregator.

Cable operators need to be sure the systems in which they invest today will be able to accommodate those changes, as well as expected future iterations of data and interface standards. Beyond the initial interface and security specifications, discussions with FEMA have also indicated additional future updates to accommodate a change to the CAP v2.0 data format, and potentially other issues. 

The Monroe R189 One-Net has been designed to accommodate foreseen change in data or interface specifications that FEMA is contemplating.
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Q: What is the role of IPAWS?

A:The primary emphasis of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), is the issuance of national (EAN) alerts from IPAWS to connected outbound systems, as was explained to us and other industry participants a few weeks ago by a FEMA executive.  FEMA would relay national EAS messaging to the new Cellular Mobile Alert System, as well as to EAS.  FEMA will be providing additional specifications on how CAP-EAS encoder-decoders are to connect to the IPAWS alert aggregator.

It is important to note that there are already 19 state systems throughout the nation that transmit conventional and CAP EAS alerts.  These systems operate independently of the FEMA IPAWS system, and it is yet to be determined the level of interconnections between the existing state systems and the FEMA IPAWS aggregator.
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Q: What is the relationship between IPAWS and state/local CAP EAS systems?

A: The deployment of IPAWS does not necessarily give state and local authorities a "free ride."  To the contrary, there will be a need for deployment of state and local CAP systems. There will need to be interconnections between FEMA IPAWS and state CAP systems at a server-to-server level (via IPAWS OPEN, formerly DM OPEN).

Over 19 states already have some form of IP-based EAS relay capability. It appears the majority of these are CAP networks, or ready to be converted to CAP. Two to three more are building or leveraging state IP networks for this purpose (meaning they'll just need to procure or build a CAP server).  Bottom line, almost half the states are positioning themselves for CAP origination and dissemination at a state and/or local level.
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Q: How will cable operators support the so-called "mandatory governor's alert"

A: States will have new roles and responsibilities with next generation CAP EAS.  One key change is the introduction of a mandatory alert message from a state or territorial governor. Once this capability is introduced into a state’s approved EAS plan, cable operations must ensure their ability to accept such a message and put it to air.

If CAP EAS unit has successfully completed the IPAWS conformance process, cable operators can be assured it has the capability if handling the mandatory governors’ alert. This new capability is built into a conformant device.  However, this capability only comes into effect after a state has filed an FCC-approved EAS State Plan that provides for delivery of such alerts.  These mandatory CAP alerts may come from the IPAWS system, and/or directly from a state’s own CAP system. Cable operators may be asked to monitor both sources of CAP messaging.
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Q: What do cable operations need to interface with state and local CAP networks?

A: Some 19 states have deployed – or are in the process of deploying – advanced EAS relay systems that can accommodate CAP. Other states are expected to do so over the next year or so. Cable operators should be advised to look for CAP EAS equipment that will be able to interface with state and local CAP alerting systems, in addition to the Federal IPAWS alerting system.

We have prepared a separate White Paper detailing the requirements for state and local CAP interoperability, which is available at http://www.monroe-electronics.com/EAS_pages/pdf/ME-WhitePaper-State_Interoperability-May_2011.pdf.

Cable operators need to be aware that Federal, state and local CAP EAS system design choices may determine what brands of CAP-EAS device will “plug and play” with a given network. Some CAP-EAS devices are Internet-only (and do not natively support or would require investment in additional equipment to support a satellite or wireless data network). Some CAP networks will provide higher levels of security, and will require devices attached to that network to conform to certain security standards. Some CAP networks will be “push” systems, and others will be “pull.”

The R189 One-Net has been designed with the necessary flexibility to conform to a wide range of network and data requirements. The R189 One-Net is capable of interfacing with all providers of CAP EAS relay services in each of these 19 states, as well as all others implementing CAP EAS systems. The same R189 One-Net unit you need to interface with FEMA IPAWS can be used to interface with state and local CAP EAS systems, in many cases with no additional modifications required.
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Q: Is the FCC providing any certification or re-certification of CAP EAS equipment?
A: FCC intentions are uncertain at this time.  The FCC CSRIC advisory group has recommended that all CAP EAS devices be FCC certified.  In any event, the Digital Alert Systems One-Net is currently FCC certified, and we will support re-certification if required.
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Q: What considerations should Cable operators have in mind when evaluating CAP EAS equipment

A:Cable operators will need an encoder-decoder that is both FCC certified for Part 11, and FEMA IPAWS conformant. This device will also need to function with the particular CAP delivery system your area/state may also be is using.  In addition to CAP, you will need to determine if the device supports your state’s specific operational requirements, as well as the specifics of your own cable operation.  The R189 One-Net has a long history of supporting the requirements of major cable systems across the nation.  The One-Net is CAP-ready, and have been designed to readily accommodate the data and physical interface requirements of Federal, State and local CAP EAS systems.

Email us any new questions regarding your EAS equipment or system.
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