Today (4/19/12) the FCC overturned their prohibition announced in their Fifth Report and Order on the use of CAP EAS Text To Speech (TTS). Their decision today proves that the EAS user community along with FEMA succeeded in making a strong case for this reversal. If you have not vistited the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) site and read what FEMA, the BWW and others filed on 04-296, it outlines how EAS stakeholders got together to present the FCC with good reasons to allow TTS. As we look at other provisions of Part 11, announced and yet-to-be-announced, we should remember, working together, we can make a difference. The item was placed on circulation to the Commissioners just a few days ago, and was announced today before the effective date of the Report and Order. The speed with which this decision was made today surprised a lot of EAS Watchers, but came as no surprise to those of us who had faith that the FCC would act fast do the right thing, once the “right thing” was carefully explained to the FCC.
Here is the full text of the relevant part of today’s FCC TTS decision:
Accordingly, pursuant to section 1.108 of our rules,23 on our own motion we reconsider and revise section 11.56(a)(2) of our rules to replace the parenthetical phrase “except that any and all specifications set forth therein related to using text-to-speech technology and gubernatorial ‘must carry’ shall not be followed” with the phrase “except that any and all specifications set forth therein related to gubernatorial ‘must carry’ shall not be followed, and that EAS Participants may adhere to the specifications related to text-to-speech on a voluntary basis.”24 We also revise footnote 118 of the Fifth Report and Order to delete the phrase “While we do not permit the construction of EAS audio from a CAP text message at this time . . . ”25 and revise footnote 496 of the Fifth Report and Order to delete the phrase “ . . . we will not allow EAS Participants to use text-to-speech software configured in their EAS equipment to generate the audio portion of an EAS message . . .”26 With these revisions, we hereby defer consideration of the ECIG Implementation Guide’s adoption of TTS software
configured in EAS equipment to generate the audio portion of an EAS message, and thus neither require nor prohibit EAS Participants from following the ECIG Implementation Guide’s specifications on use of TTS.