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FCC Renames CMAS as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

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Released: February 25, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-280

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
The Commercial Mobile Alert System
)
PS Docket No. 07-287
)
)

ORDER

Adopted: February 25, 2013

Released: February 25, 2013
By the Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
1.
The Warning Alert and Response Network Act (WARN Act)1 required the Commission to
adopt the technical requirements necessary for commercial mobile service providers to transmit
emergency alerts, if they elect to transmit those alerts.2 In the rulemaking proceeding that the
Commission launched to implement this WARN Act requirement, the Commission used the name
Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) to describe the system that commercial mobile service
providers could use to transmit emergency alerts to the public.3 The regulations governing this system are
codified in Part 10 of the Commission’s rules and also refer to this system as CMAS.4 Recently,
however, an increasing number of the commercial mobile service providers that participate in the system
are referring to it as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) in the information that they provide to their
subscribers.5

1 Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFE Port Act), Pub.L. 109-347, Title VI-Commercial
Mobile Service Alerts (WARN Act).
2 WARN Act, §602(a).
3 See, e.g. The Commercial Mobile Alert System, PS Docket No. 07-287, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 22 FCC
Rcd 21975 (2007); see also The Commercial Mobile Alert System, PS Docket No. 07-287, First Report and Order,
23 FCC Rcd 6144 (2008).
4 47 C.F.R. Part 10.
5 See, e.g. Verizon Wireless, “Wireless Emergency Alert FAQS,” available at
http://support.verizonwireless.com/clc/faqs/Wireless%20Service/emergency_alerts_faq.html
; “Wireless Emergency
Alerts – AT&T Point of Sale Notification,” available at http://www.att.com/gen/public-affairs?pid=20107; T-
Mobile, “Wireless Emergency Alerts,” available at http://www.t-
mobile.com/Company/CompanyInfo.aspx?tp=Abt_Tab_CompanySafety&tsp=Abt_Sub_WirelessEmergencyAlerts
;
Sprint, “Wireless Emergency Alerts,” available at
http://community.sprint.com/baw/community/buzzaboutwireless/services/messaging/wireless_emergency_alerts_-
_cmas?view=overview
. In addition, the industry has developed a trademarked symbol, which includes the words
“Wireless Emergency Alerts Capable,” to indicate that a wireless handset complies with our Part 10 rules. See
CTIA, “Wireless Emergency Alerts on Your Mobile Device,” available at
http://www.ctia.org/consumer_info/safety/index.cfm/AID/12082
. This system has also been referred to as the
“Personal Localized Alerting Network” or “PLAN.” See, e.g. FCC, “Commercial Mobile Alert System,” available
at http://www.fcc.gov/guides/commercial-mobile-alert-system-cmas
.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-280

2.
In this Order, we revise Part 10 of the Commission’s rules by changing the name
“Commercial Mobile Alert System” to “Wireless Emergency Alerts” throughout the Part and by changing
references to “CMAS” to “WEA.” These revisions will conform the name used for the wireless alert
system regulated under our rules to the name used by the major commercial mobile service providers that
participate in that system. Accordingly, the rules will more accurately reflect common parlance and thus
reduce confusion.
3.
The revisions adopted in this Order and set forth in the attached Appendix merely change
the name of the commercial mobile alert service regulated under Part 10 of our rules. These revisions are
thus ministerial, non-substantive, and editorial. Accordingly, we find good cause to conclude that notice
and comment procedures are unnecessary and would not serve any useful purpose.6
4.
Because the rule revisions will not affect the substantive rights or interests of any licensee,
we also find good cause to make these non-substantive, editorial revisions of the rules effective upon
publication in the Federal Register.7
5.
Because this Order is being adopted without the publication of a notice of proposed
rulemaking, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. § 601 et seq., does not require the Commission to
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis.8
6.
This document does not contain new or modified information collection requirements
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not
contain any new or modified information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than
25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

6 See 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)(3)(B) (stating that notice and comment procedures do not apply “when the agency for good
cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement for reasons therefore in the rules issued) that notice
and public procedures thereon are ... unnecessary”). The “unnecessary” exception to the APA’s notice and comment
requirement is “‘confined to those situations in which the administrative rule is a routine determination, insignificant
in nature and impact, and inconsequential to the industry and to the public.’” Utility Solid Waste Activities Group v.
EPA
, 236 F.3d 749, 755 (D.C. Cir., 2001) (quoting South Carolina v. Block, 558 F.Supp. 1004, 1016 (D.S.C. 1983),
and citing Texaco v. FPC, 412 F.2d 740, 743 (3d Cir., 1969)); see also Amendment of Parts 12 and 90 of the
Commission’s Rules Regarding Redundancy of Communications Systems: Backup Power; Private Land Mobile
Radio Services: Selection and assignment of frequencies, and transition of the Upper 200 channels in the 800 MHz
Band to EA licensing, 26 FCC Rcd 15453, 15454 ¶ 6 (PSHSB, OMD 2011) (“The rule amendments adopted … are
ministerial, nonsubstantive, editorial revisions … and we find good cause to conclude that notice and comment
procedures are unnecessary and would not serve any useful purpose” (citing 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)(3)(B)).
7 See 5 U.S.C. § 553(d)(3) (“The required publication or service of a substantive rule shall be made not less than 30
days before its effective date, except ... (3) as otherwise provided by the agency for good cause found and published
with the rule.”).
8 See, e.g., 5 U.S.C. § 603(a) (stating that an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is required whenever an agency
publishes a notice of proposed rulemaking for any proposed rule); see also 5 U.S.C. § 604(a) (stating that an agency
shall prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis when it promulgates a final rule after being required to publish a
general notice of proposed rulemaking); see also 5 U.S.C. § 601(2) (defining “rule” as “any rule for which the
agency publishes a general notice of proposed rulemaking”).
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DA 13-280

7.
The Bureau adopts this Order pursuant to its delegated authority to “conduct[] rulemaking
proceedings” in matters pertaining to public safety and homeland security.9 Pursuant to section 0.392 of
the Commission’s rules, the Bureau Chief is “delegated authority to perform all functions of the Bureau,
described in . . . § 0.191” with certain specified exceptions.10 None of those exceptions are present
here.11
8.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, effective upon publication in the Federal Register,
Part 10 of the Commission’s rules IS REVISED, as set forth in the attached Appendix, pursuant to the
authority contained in sections 4(i), 5(c), and 303(r) of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i),
155(c), and 303(r), and sections 0.231(b) and 0.392(e) of the Commission’s regulations, 47 C.F.R. §§
0.191(e) and 0.392.
9.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Secretary shall cause a copy of this Order to be
published in the Federal Register.
10.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Bureau SHALL SEND a copy of this Order in a
report to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.
See 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A).
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David S. Turetsky
Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

9 See 47 C.F.R. § 0.191(e); see also id. § 0.191(a).
10 47 C.F.R. § 0.392.
11 These exceptions prohibit the Bureau Chief from, inter alia, acting on applications or requests that present new or
novel questions of law, 47 C.F.R. § 0.392(a), or issuing “notices of proposed rulemaking, notices of inquiry, or
reports or orders arising from either of the foregoing” (except for orders involving, inter alia, ministerial conforming
amendments to the rules). See 47 C.F.R. § 0.392(e).
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APPENDIX A

Final Rules

Part 10 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

1. The title of Part 10 is amended by revising it to read as follows:

PART 10—WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS

2. The authority citation for Part 10 continues to read as follows:
AUTHORITY; 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i) and (o), 201, 303(r), 403, and 606; sections 602(a), (b), (c),
(f), 603, 604 and 606 of Pub. L. 109-347, 120 Stat. 1884.
3. Section 10.2 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.2 Purpose.
The rules in this part establish the requirements for participation in the voluntary Wireless
Emergency Alerts system.
4. Section 10.10 is amended by revising paragraphs (c), (h), (i) and (j) to read as follows:
§ 10.10 Definitions.
*****
(b) Common Alerting Protocol. The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) refers to Organization
for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) Standard CAP-V1.1, October
2005 (available at http://www.oasis-open.org/specs/index.php#capv1.1 ), or any subsequent version
of CAP adopted by OASIS and implemented by the WEA.
(c) Wireless Emergency Alerts. The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system refers to the
voluntary emergency alerting system established by this part, whereby Commercial Mobile Service
Providers may elect to transmit Alert Messages to the public.
*****
(h) CMS provider Gateway. The mechanism(s) that supports the “C” interface and associated
protocols between the Alert Gateway and the CMS provider Gateway, and which performs the
various functions associated with the authentication, management and dissemination of WEA Alert
Messages received from the Alert Gateway.
(i) CMS provider infrastructure. The mechanism(s) that distribute received WEA Alert
Messages throughout the CMS provider's network, including cell site/paging transceivers and perform
functions associated with authentication of interactions with the Mobile Device.
(j) Mobile Devices. The subscriber equipment generally offered by CMS providers that supports
the distribution of WEA Alert Messages.
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5. Section 10.11 is amended by revising the section heading and text to read as follows:
§ 10.11 WEA implementation timeline.
Notwithstanding anything in this part to the contrary, a participating CMS provider shall begin
an 18 month period of development, testing and deployment of the WEA in a manner consistent with
the rules in this part no later than 10 months from the date that the Federal Alert Aggregator and Alert
Gateway makes the Government Interface Design specifications available.
6. The title of Subpart B to Part 10 is amended by revising it to read as follows:

Subpart B—Election to Participate in Wireless Emergency Alerts System

7. Section 10.210 is amended by revising the section heading and paragraphs (a)(2) and (b) to read as
follows:
§ 10.210 WEA participation election procedures.
(a) A CMS provider that elects to transmit WEA Alert Messages, in part or in whole, shall
electronically file with the Commission a letter attesting that the Provider:
(1) ***
(2) Commits to support the development and deployment of technology for the “C” interface,
the CMS provider Gateway, the CMS provider infrastructure, and mobile devices with WEA
functionality and support of the CMS provider selected technology.
(b) A CMS provider that elects not to transmit WEA Alert Messages shall file electronically
with the Commission a letter attesting to that fact.
*****
8. Section 10.220 is revised by amending the section heading and text to read as follows:
§ 10.220 Withdrawal of election to participate in WEA.
A CMS provider that elects to transmit WEA Alert Messages, in part or in whole, may withdraw
its election without regulatory penalty or forfeiture if it notifies all affected subscribers as well as the
Federal Communications Commission at least sixty (60) days prior to the withdrawal of its election.
In the event that a carrier withdraws from its election to transmit WEA Alert Messages, the carrier
must notify each affected subscriber individually in clear and conspicuous language citing the statute.
Such notice must promptly inform the customer that he or she no longer could expect to receive alerts
and of his or her right to terminate service as a result, without penalty or early termination fee. Such
notice must facilitate the ability of a customer to automatically respond and immediately discontinue
service.
9. Section 10.230 is revised by amending the section heading and text to read as follows:
§ 10.230 New CMS providers participating in WEA.
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DA 13-280

CMS providers who initiate service at a date after the election procedure provided for in
§ 10.210(d) and who elect to provide WEA Alert Messages, in part or in whole, shall file
electronically their election to transmit in the manner and with the attestations described in
§ 10.210(a).
10. Section 10.240 is revised by amending the section heading and paragraph (a) to read as follows:
§ 10. 240 Notification to new subscribers of non-participation in WEA.
(a) A CMS provider that elects not to transmit WEA Alert Messages, in part or in whole, shall
provide clear and conspicuous notice, which takes into account the needs of persons with disabilities,
to new subscribers of its non-election or partial election to provide Alert messages at the point-of-
sale.
******
11. Section 10.250 is amended by revising the section heading and paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as
follows:
§ 10.250 Notification to existing subscribers of non-participation in WEA.
(a) A CMS provider that elects not to transmit WEA Alert Messages, in part or in whole, shall
provide clear and conspicuous notice, which takes into account the needs of persons with disabilities,
to existing subscribers of its non-election or partial election to provide Alert messages by means of an
announcement amending the existing subscriber's service agreement.
(b) For purposes of this section, a CMS provider that elects not to transmit WEA Alert Messages,
in part or in whole, shall use the notification language set forth in § 10.240 (c) or (d) respectively,
except that the last line of the notice shall reference FCC Rule 47 CFR 10.250, rather than FCC Rule
47 CFR 10.240.
*****
12. Section 10.260 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.260 Timing of subscriber notification.
A CMS provider that elects not to transmit WEA Alert Messages, in part or in whole, must
comply with §§ 10.240 and 10.250 no later than 60 days following an announcement by the
Commission that the Alert Aggregator/Gateway system is operational and capable of delivering
emergency alerts to participating CMS providers.
13. Section 10.270 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.270 Subscribers' right to terminate subscription.
If a CMS provider that has elected to provide WEA Alert Messages in whole or in part thereafter
chooses to cease providing such alerts, either in whole or in part, its subscribers may terminate their
subscription without penalty or early termination fee.
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14. Section 10.280 is amended by revising the section heading to read as follows:
§ 10.280 Subscribers' right to opt out of WEA notifications.
*****
15. Section 10.320 by revising paragraphs (c) and (f)(1) to read as follows:
§ 10.320 Provider alert gateway requirements.
*****
(c)Security. The CMS provider gateway must support standardized IP-based security mechanisms
such as a firewall, and support the defined WEA “C” interface and associated protocols between the
Federal alert gateway and the CMS provider gateway.
*****
(f) ***
(1) The information must be provided 30 days in advance of the date when the CMS provider
begins to transmit WEA alerts.
*****
16. Section 10.340 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.340 Digital television transmission towers retransmission capability.
Licensees and permittees of noncommercial educational broadcast television stations (NCE) or
public broadcast television stations (to the extent such stations fall within the scope of those terms as
defined in section 397(6) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 397(6))) are required to
install on, or as part of, any broadcast television digital signal transmitter, equipment to enable the
distribution of geographically targeted alerts by commercial mobile service providers that have
elected to transmit WEA alerts. Such equipment and technologies must have the capability of
allowing licensees and permittees of NCE and public broadcast television stations to receive WEA
alerts from the Alert Gateway over an alternate, secure interface and then to transmit such WEA alerts
to CMS Provider Gateways of participating CMS providers. This equipment must be installed no later
than eighteen months from the date of receipt of funding permitted under section 606(b) of the
WARN Act or 18 months from the effective date of these rules, whichever is later.
17. Section 10.350 is amended by revising the section heading, introduction, and paragraphs (a)(1) and
(a)(4) to read as follows:
§ 10.350 WEA Testing requirements.
This section specifies the testing that will be required, no later than the date of deployment of the
WEA, of WEA components.
(a) Required monthly tests. Testing of the WEA from the Federal Alert Gateway to each
Participating CMS Provider's infrastructure shall be conducted monthly.
(1) ***
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(2) Participating CMS Providers shall schedule the distribution of the RMT to their WEA
coverage area over a 24 hour period commencing upon receipt of the RMT at the CMS Provider
Gateway. Participating CMS Providers shall determine the method to distribute the RMTs, and may
schedule over the 24 hour period the delivery of RMTs over geographic subsets of their coverage area
to manage traffic loads and to accommodate maintenance windows.
(3) ***
(4) The RMT shall be initiated only by the Federal Alert Gateway Administrator using a defined
test message. Real event codes or alert messages shall not be used for the WEA RMT message.
(5) A Participating CMS Provider shall distribute an RMT within its WEA coverage area within 24 hours
of receipt by the CMS Provider Gateway unless pre-empted by actual alert traffic or unable due to an
unforeseen condition.
*****
18. Section 10.420 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.420 Message elements.
A WEA Alert Message processed by a Participating CMS Provider shall include five mandatory
CAP elements—Event Type; Area Affected; Recommended Action; Expiration Time (with time
zone); and Sending Agency. This requirement does not apply to Presidential Alerts.
19. Section 10.430 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.430 Character limit.
A WEA Alert Message processed by a Participating CMS Provider must not exceed 90 characters
of alphanumeric text.
20. Section 10.440 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.440 Embedded reference prohibition.
A WEA Alert Message processed by a Participating CMS Provider must not include an
embedded Uniform Resource Locator (URL), which is a reference (an address) to a resource on the
Internet, or an embedded telephone number. This prohibition does not apply to Presidential Alerts.
21. Section 10.470 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.470 Roaming.
When, pursuant to a roaming agreement ( see § 20.12 of this chapter), a subscriber receives
services from a roamed-upon network of a Participating CMS Provider, the Participating CMS
Provider must support WEA alerts to the roaming subscriber to the extent the subscriber's mobile
device is configured for and technically capable of receiving WEA alerts.
22. Section 10.500 is amended by revising it to read as follows:
§ 10.500 General requirements.
WEA mobile device functionality is dependent on the capabilities of a Participating CMS Provider's
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delivery technologies. Mobile devices are required to perform the following functions:
*****
9

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