On March 30, 2023, the FCC announced the tentative agenda for the Open Commission Meeting scheduled for 10:30 am EDT on Thursday, April 20, 2023. 

While Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) have been used over 78,000 times and are credited with saving lives during hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and bringing missing children home safely, there remain gaps that limit WEAs’ effectiveness. The Commission will consider a draft Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) proposing improvements to address these gaps.

Specifically for individuals with disabilities, the draft FNPRM seeks comment on:

  • Whether and how WEA might be improved to provide support for American Sign Language;
  • Whether WEAs could  support a new text-to-speech functionality to accommodate individuals with vision disabilities;
  • Whether to require WEAs  to support certain multimedia alerts, such as symbol sets, which may improve message comprehension for people with disabilities;
  • Whether to allow alert originators to send WEAs without the attention signal and vibration cadence, for example, in active shooter situations; and
  • Whether to amend the definition of “mobile device” to include devices such as data-plan-enabled tablets that may accommodate individuals with mobility or dexterity disabilities.

April 20 Open Meeting News Release:

URL:  https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-tentative-agenda-april-open-meeting-10

Public Draft of the WEA FNPRM:

URL:  https://www.fcc.gov/document/improving-wireless-emergency-alerts  

The open meeting will be held in the Commission Meeting Room, 45 L Street NE, Washington, DC, and will be streamed live with open captioning at www.fcc.gov/live.  More information about the FCC’s April 20, 2023 Open Meeting is available at:  https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2023/04/april-2023-open-commission-meeting.   

 While the Open Meeting is open to the public, the FCC headquarters building is not open access, and all guests must check in with and be screened by FCC security at the main entrance at 45 L Street, NE.  Attendees at the Open Meeting will not be required to have an appointment but must otherwise comply with protocols outlined at: https://www.fcc.gov/visit.    

 Reasonable Accommodations:  Open captioning will be provided for this event.  Other reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request.  In your request, include a description of the accommodation you will need and a way we can contact you if we need more information.  Last minute requests will be accepted but may be impossible to fill.  Send an e-mail to: fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530.

General information about WEA accessibility is available at:  https://www.fcc.gov/wea-accessibility.  For specific information about the FNPRM, please contact WEA@fcc.gov. or David Kirschner, Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, (202) 418-0695, or by email to david.kirschner@fcc.gov.  Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-432-2275 (videophone). 

Tuesday, April 4, 2023