FCC Seeks to Improve Distress Signal Tech

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Communications Commission seeks feedback on its attempt to goose distress signal innovation for locating items lost at sea.
     People use various technologies to communicate distress from ships, when lost at sea or facing other problems.
     The FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking earlier this year on issues related to radar and other technology used by maritime radio services. It issued a summary of the notice as a proposed rule this week.
     In response to petitions to revise the rules by a task force chartered by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, the FCC requests comments on whether it should change certain rules.
     Among the proposed changes, the FCC is considering requiring tracking transmitters called "emergency position indicating radio beacons" to have the ability to broadcast their position data to make it easier for rescue personnel to find lost ships.
     The beacons, carried on board ships, have the capability to broadcast GPS data, and the FCC is considering whether to make this a requirement of the technology.
     The FCC also proposed updating equipment standards for locator beacons made for personal use that help rescue efforts and whether it should allow the certification of other transmitters used in rescue situations. "These rules will enable the maritime radio services to better protect lives and property at sea, as well as support improved day-to-day operations," the FCC wrote. "New technologies will be used to locate and rescue distressed ships and individuals in distress at sea or on land to provide better and more accurate data to rescue personnel."
     The FCC is soliciting comments on the economic impacts the rule could have on small businesses that make radio equipment or operate ships. "We seek information on whether the compliance costs may outweigh the safety benefits of these rule changes, and whether there are alternative means of securing the safety benefits of these requirements through means that are less burdensome to regulates," the commission wrote.
     Comments on the proposed rule are due by June 2. WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comments on its proposal to update rules for transmitters used to locate ships lost at sea.
     There is a variety of technologies used by people on ships to communicate distress when lost at sea or facing other problems.
     The FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking earlier this year on issues related to radar and other technology used by maritime radio services. It published a summary of the notice as a proposed rule this week.
     In response to petitions for rulemaking by a task force chartered by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, the commission is soliciting comments on whether it should change certain rules.
     Among the proposed changes, the commission is considering requiring tracking transmitters called "emergency position indicating radio beacons" to have the ability to broadcast their position data to make it easier for rescue personnel to find lost ships.
     The beacons, carried on board ships, have the capability to broadcast GPS data, and the commission is considering whether to make that a requirement of the technology.
     The commission also proposed updating equipment standards for locator beacons made for personal use that help rescue efforts and whether it should allow the certification of other transmitters used in rescue situations. "These rules will enable the maritime radio services to better protect lives and property at sea, as well as support improved day-to-day operations," the commission wrote. "New technologies will be used to locate and rescue distressed ships and individuals in distress at sea or on land to provide better and more accurate data to rescue personnel."
     The commission is soliciting comments on the economic impacts the rule could have on small businesses that make radio equipment or operate ships. "We seek information on whether the compliance costs may outweigh the safety benefits of these rule changes, and whether there are alternative means of securing the safety benefits of these requirements through means that are less burdensome to regulates," the commission wrote.
     Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted by June 2, and reply comments by June 30.