1. In this Order, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) grants a limited waiver of the Commission’s Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) rules to permit Participating Commercial Mobile Service (CMS) Providers to participate in an end-to-end test of WEA to be conducted by the Alamosa Regional Communications Center (ARCC). This proposed test is scheduled for Thursday, June 6, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT), with a backup date of Thursday, June 13, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. MDT, and would occur within six counties in Colorado’s San Luis Valley region. For the reasons discussed below, we grant the ARCC request, subject to certain conditions.
2. The WEA system allows authorized government entities to send geographically targeted emergency alerts to commercial wireless subscribers who have WEA-capable mobile devices, and whose commercial wireless service providers are Participating CMS Providers. The Commission’s rules prohibit the use of the WEA Attention Signal except during actual emergencies, authorized tests, and certain public service announcements. Additionally, the Commission’s rules allow testing of WEA functionality only in limited circumstances that currently do not include end-to-end WEA tests to the public. On November 1, 2016, the Commission adopted a Report and Order that amends the WEA testing rules to permit emergency managers to conduct end-to-end WEA tests to the public, to assess how WEA is working within their jurisdictions. The rules allowing such tests will not be effective until May 1, 2019. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) infrastructure through which all alerts are authenticated, validated, and delivered to Participating CMS Providers, has recently informed the Bureau that IPAWS will not be ready to support additional features, including State/Local WEA Tests, until June 10, 2019. Accordingly, alert originators wishing to conduct end-to-end WEA tests prior to IPAWS’ readiness to support State/Local WEA Tests must continue to request a waiver to use existing WEA message classifications to permit the alerts to be transmitted to the public.