[USC02] 47 USC Ch. 11: COMMERCIAL MOBILE SERVICE ALERTS
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TEXT OF PART V OF SUBTITLE A (3001 ET SEQ.), EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2022, CURRENTLY SET OUT AS A PREVIEW

47 USC Ch. 11: COMMERCIAL MOBILE SERVICE ALERTS
From Title 47—TELECOMMUNICATIONS

CHAPTER 11—COMMERCIAL MOBILE SERVICE ALERTS

Sec.
1201.
Federal Communications Commission duties.
1202.
Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee.
1203.
Research and development.
1204.
Grant program for remote community alert systems.
1205.
Funding.
1206.
Reliable emergency alert distribution improvement.

        

§1201. Federal Communications Commission duties

(a) Commercial mobile service alert regulations

Within 180 days after the date on which the Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee, established pursuant to section 1202(a) of this title, transmits recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission, the Commission shall complete a proceeding to adopt relevant technical standards, protocols, procedures, and other technical requirements based on the recommendations of such Advisory Committee necessary to enable commercial mobile service alerting capability for commercial mobile service providers that voluntarily elect to transmit emergency alerts. The Commission shall consult with the National Institute of Standards and Technology regarding the adoption of technical standards under this subsection.

(b) Commercial mobile service election

(1) Amendment of commercial mobile service license

Within 120 days after the date on which the Federal Communications Commission adopts relevant technical standards and other technical requirements pursuant to subsection (a), the Commission shall complete a proceeding—

(A) to allow any licensee providing commercial mobile service (as defined in section 332(d)(1) of this title) to transmit emergency alerts to subscribers to, or users of, the commercial mobile service provided by such licensee;

(B) to require any licensee providing commercial mobile service that elects, in whole or in part, under paragraph (2) not to transmit emergency alerts to provide clear and conspicuous notice at the point of sale of any devices with which its commercial mobile service is included, that it will not transmit such alerts via the service it provides for the device; and

(C) to require any licensee providing commercial mobile service that elects under paragraph (2) not to transmit emergency alerts to notify its existing subscribers of its election.

(2) Election

(A) In general

Within 30 days after the Commission issues its order under paragraph (1), each licensee providing commercial mobile service shall file an election with the Commission with respect to whether or not it intends to transmit emergency alerts.

(B) Transmission standards; notification

If a licensee providing commercial mobile service elects to transmit emergency alerts via its commercial mobile service, the licensee shall—

(i) notify the Commission of its election; and

(ii) agree to transmit such alerts in a manner consistent with the technical standards, protocols, procedures, and other technical requirements implemented by the Commission.

(C) No fee for service

A commercial mobile service licensee that elects to transmit emergency alerts may not impose a separate or additional charge for such transmission or capability.

(D) Withdrawal; late election

The Commission shall establish a procedure—

(i) for a commercial mobile service licensee that has elected to transmit emergency alerts to withdraw its election without regulatory penalty or forfeiture upon advance written notification of the withdrawal to its affected subscribers;

(ii) for a commercial mobile service licensee to elect to transmit emergency alerts at a date later than provided in subparagraph (A); and

(iii) under which a subscriber may terminate a subscription to service provided by a commercial mobile service licensee that withdraws its election without penalty or early termination fee.

(E) Consumer choice technology

Any commercial mobile service licensee electing to transmit emergency alerts may offer subscribers the capability of preventing the subscriber's device from receiving such alerts, or classes of such alerts, other than an alert issued by—

(i) the President; or

(ii) the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

(c) Digital television transmission towers retransmission capability

Within 90 days after the date on which the Commission adopts relevant technical standards based on recommendations of the Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee, established pursuant to section 1202(a) of this title, the Commission shall complete a proceeding to require licensees and permittees of noncommercial educational broadcast stations or public broadcast stations (as those terms are defined in section 397(6) of this title) to install necessary equipment and technologies on, or as part of, any broadcast television digital signal transmitter to enable the distribution of geographically targeted alerts by commercial mobile service providers that have elected to transmit emergency alerts under this section.

(d) FCC regulation of compliance

The Federal Communications Commission may enforce compliance with this chapter but shall have no rulemaking authority under this chapter, except as provided in subsections (a), (b), (c), and (f).

(e) Limitation of liability

(1) In general

Any commercial mobile service provider (including its officers, directors, employees, vendors, and agents) that transmits emergency alerts and meets its obligations under this chapter shall not be liable to any subscriber to, or user of, such person's service or equipment for—

(A) any act or omission related to or any harm resulting from the transmission of, or failure to transmit, an emergency alert; or

(B) the release to a government agency or entity, public safety, fire service, law enforcement official, emergency medical service, or emergency facility of subscriber information used in connection with delivering such an alert.

(2) Election not to transmit alerts

The election by a commercial mobile service provider under subsection (b)(2)(A) not to transmit emergency alerts, or to withdraw its election to transmit such alerts under subsection (b)(2)(D) shall not, by itself, provide a basis for liability against the provider (including its officers, directors, employees, vendors, and agents).

(f) Testing

The Commission shall require by regulation technical testing for commercial mobile service providers that elect to transmit emergency alerts and for the devices and equipment used by such providers for transmitting such alerts.

(Pub. L. 109–347, title VI, §602, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1936; Pub. L. 116–283, div. H, title XCII, §9201(a)(1), Jan. 1, 2021, 134 Stat. 4785.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (d) and (e)(1), was in the original "this title", meaning title VI of Pub. L. 109–347, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1936, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of title VI to the Code, see Short Title note set out below and Tables.

Amendments

2021—Subsec. (b)(2)(E). Pub. L. 116–283 , substituted in first sentence, "other than an alert issued by—" for "other than an alert issued by the President.", and added cls. (i) and (ii), and struck out after first sentence "Within 2 years after the Commission completes the proceeding under paragraph (1), the Commission shall examine the issue of whether a commercial mobile service provider should continue to be permitted to offer its subscribers such capability. The Commission shall submit a report with its recommendations to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives."


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Short Title

Pub. L. 109–347, title VI, §601, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1936, provided that: "This title [enacting this chapter, section 314a of Title 6, Domestic Security, and section 5189e of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, and amending section 101 of Title 6 and sections 5150, 5172, 5173, and 5184 of Title 42] may be cited as the 'Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act'."

§1202. Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee

(a) Establishment

Not later than 60 days after October 13, 2006, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission shall establish an advisory committee, to be known as the Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee (referred to in this section as the "Advisory Committee").

(b) Membership

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission shall appoint the members of the Advisory Committee, as soon as practicable after October 13, 2006, from the following groups:

(1) State and local government representatives

Representatives of State and local governments and representatives of emergency response providers, selected from among individuals nominated by national organizations representing such governments and personnel.

(2) Tribal governments

Representatives from Federally recognized Indian tribes and National Indian organizations.

(3) Subject matter experts

Individuals who have the requisite technical knowledge and expertise to serve on the Advisory Committee in the fulfillment of its duties, including representatives of—

(A) communications service providers;

(B) vendors, developers, and manufacturers of systems, facilities, equipment, and capabilities for the provision of communications services;

(C) third-party service bureaus;

(D) technical experts from the broadcasting industry;

(E) the national organization representing the licensees and permittees of noncommercial broadcast television stations;

(F) national organizations representing individuals with special needs, including individuals with disabilities and the elderly; and

(G) other individuals with relevant technical expertise.

(4) Qualified representatives of other stakeholders and interested parties

Qualified representatives of such other stakeholders and interested and affected parties as the chairman deems appropriate.

(c) Development of system-critical recommendations

Within 1 year after October 13, 2006, the Advisory Committee shall develop and submit to the Federal Communications Commission recommendations—

(1) for protocols, technical capabilities, and technical procedures through which electing commercial mobile service providers receive, verify, and transmit alerts to subscribers;

(2) for the establishment of technical standards for priority transmission of alerts by electing commercial mobile service providers to subscribers;

(3) for relevant technical standards for devices and equipment and technologies used by electing commercial mobile service providers to transmit emergency alerts to subscribers;

(4) for the technical capability to transmit emergency alerts by electing commercial mobile providers to subscribers in languages in addition to English, to the extent practicable and feasible;

(5) under which electing commercial mobile service providers may offer subscribers the capability of preventing the subscriber's device from receiving emergency alerts, or classes of such alerts, (other than an alert issued by the President), consistent with section 1201(b)(2)(E) of this title;

(6) for a process under which commercial mobile service providers can elect to transmit emergency alerts if—

(A) not all of the devices or equipment used by such provider are capable of receiving such alerts; or

(B) the provider cannot offer such alerts throughout the entirety of its service area; and


(7) as otherwise necessary to enable electing commercial mobile service providers to transmit emergency alerts to subscribers.

(d) Meetings

(1) Initial meeting

The initial meeting of the Advisory Committee shall take place not later than 60 days after October 13, 2006.

(2) Other meetings

After the initial meeting, the Advisory Committee shall meet at the call of the chair.

(3) Notice; open meetings

Any meetings held by the Advisory Committee shall be duly noticed at least 14 days in advance and shall be open to the public.

(e) Rules

(1) Quorum

One-third of the members of the Advisory Committee shall constitute a quorum for conducting business of the Advisory Committee.

(2) Subcommittees

To assist the Advisory Committee in carrying out its functions, the chair may establish appropriate subcommittees composed of members of the Advisory Committee and other subject matter experts as deemed necessary.

(3) Additional rules

The Advisory Committee may adopt other rules as needed.

(f) Federal Advisory Committee Act

Neither the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) nor any rule, order, or regulation promulgated under that Act shall apply to the Advisory Committee.

(g) Consultation with NIST

The Advisory Committee shall consult with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in its work on developing recommendations under paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (c).

(Pub. L. 109–347, title VI, §603, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1938.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (f), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

§1203. Research and development

(a) In general

The Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology, in consultation with the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, shall establish a research, development, testing, and evaluation program based on the recommendations of the Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee, established pursuant to section 1202(a) of this title, to support the development of technologies to increase the number of commercial mobile service devices that can receive emergency alerts.

(b) Functions

The program established under subsection (a) shall—

(1) fund research, development, testing, and evaluation at academic institutions, private sector entities, government laboratories, and other appropriate entities; and

(2) ensure that the program addresses, at a minimum—

(A) developing innovative technologies that will transmit geographically targeted emergency alerts to the public; and

(B) research on understanding and improving public response to warnings.

(Pub. L. 109–347, title VI, §604, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1940.)

§1204. Grant program for remote community alert systems

(a) Grant program

The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall establish a program under which grants may be made to provide for outdoor alerting technologies in remote communities effectively unserved by commercial mobile service (as determined by the Federal Communications Commission within 180 days after October 13, 2006) for the purpose of enabling residents of those communities to receive emergency alerts.

(b) Applications and conditions

In conducting the program, the Under Secretary—

(1) shall establish a notification and application procedure; and

(2) may establish such conditions, and require such assurances, as may be appropriate to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the grant program.

(c) Sunset

The Under Secretary may not make grants under subsection (a) more than 5 years after October 13, 2006.

(d) Limitation

The sum of the amounts awarded for all fiscal years as grants under this section may not exceed $10,000,000.

(Pub. L. 109–347, title VI, §605, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1940.)

§1205. Funding

(a) In general

In addition to any amounts provided by appropriation Acts, funding for this chapter shall be provided from the Digital Transition and Public Safety Fund in accordance with section 3010 of the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 (47 U.S.C. 309 note).

(b) Compensation

The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information shall compensate any such broadcast station licensee or permittee for reasonable costs incurred in complying with the requirements imposed pursuant to section 1201(c) of this title from funds made available under this section. The Assistant Secretary shall ensure that sufficient funds are made available to effectuate geographically targeted alerts.

(c) Credit

The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology and the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, may borrow from the Treasury beginning on October 1, 2006, such sums as may be necessary, but not to exceed $106,000,000, to implement this chapter. The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information shall ensure that the Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology and the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere are provided adequate funds to carry out their responsibilities under sections 1203 and 1204 of this title. The Treasury shall be reimbursed, without interest, from amounts in the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund as funds are deposited into the Fund.

(Pub. L. 109–347, title VI, §606, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1941.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (c), was in the original "this title", meaning title VI of Pub. L. 109–347, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1936, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of title VI to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1201 of this title and Tables.

Section 3010 of the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005, referred to in subsec. (a), is section 3010 of Pub. L. 109–171, which is set out in a note under section 309 of this title.

§1206. Reliable emergency alert distribution improvement

(a) Wireless emergency alerts system offerings

(1) Omitted

(2) Regulations

Not later than 180 days after January 1, 2021, the Commission, in consultation with the Administrator, shall adopt regulations to implement the amendment made by paragraph (1)(B).1

(b) State emergency alert system plans and emergency communications committees

(1) State emergency communications committee

Not later than 180 days after January 1, 2021, the Commission shall adopt regulations that—

(A) encourage the chief executive of each State—

(i) to establish an SECC if the State does not have an SECC; or

(ii) if the State has an SECC, to review the composition and governance of the SECC;


(B) provide that—

(i) each SECC, not less frequently than annually, shall—

(I) meet to review and update its State EAS Plan;

(II) certify to the Commission that the SECC has met as required under subclause (I); and

(III) submit to the Commission an updated State EAS Plan; and


(ii) not later than 60 days after the date on which the Commission receives an updated State EAS Plan under clause (i)(III), the Commission shall—

(I) approve or disapprove the updated State EAS Plan; and

(II) notify the chief executive of the State of the Commission's approval or disapproval of such plan, and reason therefor; and


(C) establish a State EAS Plan content checklist for SECCs to use when reviewing and updating a State EAS Plan for submission to the Commission under subparagraph (B)(i).

(2) Consultation

The Commission shall consult with the Administrator regarding the adoption of regulations under paragraph (1)(C).

(3) Definitions

In this subsection—

(A) the term "SECC" means a State Emergency Communications Committee;

(B) the term "State" means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any possession of the United States; and

(C) the term "State EAS Plan" means a State Emergency Alert System Plan.

(c) False alert reporting

Not later than 180 days after January 1, 2021, the Commission, in consultation with the Administrator, shall complete a rulemaking proceeding to establish a system to receive from the Administrator or State, Tribal, or local governments reports of false alerts under the Emergency Alert System or the Wireless Emergency Alerts System for the purpose of recording such false alerts and examining the causes of such false alerts.

(d) Repeating emergency alert system messages for national security

(1) In general

Not later than 180 days after January 1, 2021, the Commission, in consultation with the Administrator, shall complete a rulemaking proceeding to modify the Emergency Alert System to provide for repeating Emergency Alert System messages while an alert remains pending that is issued by—

(A) the President;

(B) the Administrator; or

(C) any other entity determined appropriate under the circumstances by the Commission, in consultation with the Administrator.

(2) Scope of rulemaking

Paragraph (1) shall—

(A) apply to warnings of national security events, meaning emergencies of national significance, such as a missile threat, terror attack, or other act of war or threat to public safety; and

(B) not apply to more typical warnings, such as a weather alert, AMBER Alert, or disaster alert.

(3) Rule of construction

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to impair, limit, or otherwise change—

(A) the authority of the President granted by law to alert and warn the public; or

(B) the role of the President as commander-in-chief with respect to the identification, dissemination, notification, or alerting of information of missile threats against the United States, or threats to public safety.

(e) Internet and online streaming services emergency alert examination

(1) Study

Not later than 180 days after January 1, 2021, and after providing public notice and opportunity for comment, the Commission shall complete an inquiry to examine the feasibility of updating the Emergency Alert System to enable or improve alerts to consumers provided through the internet, including through streaming services.

(2) Report

Not later than 90 days after completing the inquiry under paragraph (1), the Commission shall submit a report on the findings and conclusions of the inquiry to—

(A) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and

(B) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.

(f) Definitions

In this section—

(1) the term "Administrator" means the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency;

(2) the term "Commission" means the Federal Communications Commission;

(3) the term "Emergency Alert System" means the national public warning system, the rules for which are set forth in part 11 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation); and

(4) the term "Wireless Emergency Alerts System" means the wireless national public warning system established under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act (47 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.), the rules for which are set forth in part 10 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).

(Pub. L. 116–283, div. H, title XCII, §9201, Jan. 1, 2021, 134 Stat. 4785.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

The amendment made by paragraph (1)(B), referred to in subsec. (a)(2), means the amendment made by Pub. L. 116–283, § 9201(a)(1)(B) which amended section 1201 of this title.

The Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act, referred to in subsec. (f)(4), is title VI of Pub. L. 109–347, Oct. 13, 2006, 120 Stat. 1936, which is classified principally to chapter 11 (§1201 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set under section 1201 of this title and Tables.

Codification

Section was enacted as part of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 and not as part of the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act which comprises this chapter.

Section is comprised of section 9201 of Pub. L. 116–283. Subsec. (a) of section 9201 of Pub. L. 116–283 amended section 1201 of this title.

1 See References in Text note below.