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camper
Premium
join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit

[Connection] Emergency Alert Test interruptions

I'm seeing three or four of the emergency alert test interruptions per week.

They are beginning to be quite annoying.

Tonight there was a test alert for a county on the other side of the state. I am subjected to emergency alert tests for a different state as well.

Am I the only Comcast customer being harassed by these out of area tests?


Chris 313
Come get some
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Houma, LA
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Re: Emergency Alert Test interruptions

said by camper:

I'm seeing three or four of the emergency alert test interruptions per week.

They are beginning to be quite annoying.

Tonight there was a test alert for a county on the other side of the state. I am subjected to emergency alert tests for a different state as well.

Am I the only Comcast customer being harassed by these out of area tests?

Is this effecting your internet service or just TV? Cause I had a weird issue once. Every time EAS popped up on my box, my HSI would go out. Before I had the cable box hooked up, I found that I could stop this, just by turning off the TV. After the box was hooked up, I couldn't do anything but wait it out. Even after a tech visit and them deliberately triggering a EAS alert, my problem persisted with no answers. They even claimed to have done a no knock to install some kind of filter that didn't work.

Eventually, it just went away on it's own. To this day, I still don't know what caused that to happen.

PS: Your harassments, do they interrupt your entire TV like I can remember, or can you exit out of them?


camper
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join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
kudos:1
Reviews:
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To your questions:

So far, so far as I know, only the TV has been affected. But I've not tested HSI when the alert is present. Next time I will check HSI.

They interrupt my entire DVR (a TiVo). Until the "emergency" alert runs its course, I have completely lost control of what I can watch on the TiVo (which also functions as my STB).

jsterling

join:2013-04-23
Parker, CO
reply to camper
Since this is more of a tv issue this topic will get moved to the correct forum I'm sure but I'll add my experience.

During the recent floods in Colorado we were getting EAS messages every 10 minutes or so and during a recording on a comcast box (not TiVo) what would happen is we would end up with 5 or so recordings of one program that stopped at when we had the EAS and then start the recording again when it was over.

I think that comcast and everyone else for that matter is required to interrupt whatever is going on to provide these messages so that they are received. Obviously the EAS isn't part of the recordings and the portion of the show isn't recorded so it ends up being a patched together recording.

Not sure if TiVo is required to include this break in service to their boxes as well but I assume so.

Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
The cable card may be forcing the EAS

get dish or directv if you don't want this.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
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reply to jsterling
No this thread does not need to be moved. I to have been a victim of EAS harassment. I am tired of getting EAS messages for Brevard County 90 miles away. The reason the system sucks is that the designer of the system did not provide for EAS activation by zip code. The other issue is that when subscribers need an emergency message the most, like at 2:00 AM when a tornado is bearing down on them, their television is off and they are asleep, then dead.

I live in Lake County but continue to have programming interrupted for EAS testing in other areas. For two days during a tropical storm I kept having my programming interrupted at least once an hour for notifications related to the east coast of Florida 90 miles away. What really irritated me is that the EAS messages interrupted storm status messages from my local TV Station. The system must be fixed but the cable industry has no incentive to do so.


camper
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join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
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Reviews:
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reply to jsterling
said by jsterling:

I think that comcast and everyone else for that matter is required to interrupt whatever is going on to provide these messages so that they are received.

 

My main problem is that I am seeing EAS tests for places on the other side of the state and in a different state altogether.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to Joe12345678
No, those companies also are required to do testing.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to camper
That's just a matter of where the cable headend is located. Hell I've had customers in Florida get tests from Georgia because that is where the cable headend is located.
In New Jersey, I get both the New York City and Philadelphia ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW, and PBS stations and since they are required to conduct their own weekly and monthly tests I can understand the frustration. Yes the timing of the tests by Comcast can be a little bad, but it's not really the choice of Comcast and it's certainly not harassment, just an inconvenience. As you know, the FCC requires weekly tests to be performed at random times on random days, and requires monthly tests to be performed between 8:30 a.m. and local sunset during odd numbered months, and local sunset to 8:30 am for even months.
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camper
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Bethel, CT
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1 recommendation

said by Mike Wolf:

just an inconvenience

 

It's more than just an inconvenience.

It also desensitizes the viewers to the EAS, so when a real event occurs, it may just be ignored.

I know that 75% of the alerts are meaningless to me, so I stop paying attention until I can get control of my TV again. There are just so many of them, I've even stopped checking to see if it is just a test.

I doubt if that is the intent of the EAS tests.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
That's you, not the majority.


camper
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Bethel, CT
kudos:1
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I'm not so sure you can say that. Have you surveyed everyone who sees those messages?

But more to your point, it is human nature to ignore repetitious messages. As those EAS test messages continue to be shown multiple times a week, do you really think that most people will be reading each and every one in detail?


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4

2 edits
There should only be one weekly test and one monthly test. If this is not what you are seeing then that's an FCC violation which should be reported. »www.fcc.gov/complaints Click "Broadcast (TV and Radio), Cable, and Satellite Issues" and choose "Details"
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camper
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join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
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said by Mike Wolf:

There should only be one weekly test and one monthly test.

 
I am seeing a weekly test for each of four areas, only one of which is the area I live in.

A 75% false alarm rate is not conducive to building confidence in an Emergency Alert System.

Thanks for the link, I'll follow-up.


ComcastVic
Comcast Vic
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join:2013-01-16
Philadelphia, PA

1 recommendation

reply to camper

Re: [Connection] Emergency Alert Test interruptions

Good morning,
The right Comcast team for the CT area is now engaged and investigating this events, we will update you as soon as possible. Thank you -Vic.

joejoejeo

join:2006-04-02
Bloomington, IN
reply to camper

Re: Emergency Alert Test interruptions

Most of the EAS devices are vulnerable to all sort attacks and remote access. Here is a report from Slashdot on October 19 here is the articles page »m.slashdot.org/story/193185


camper
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Bethel, CT
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If that is correct, then that is yet another issue that needs to be resolved.

An Emergency Alert System should be exactly that. And no more.

If I see an alert, I should need to Do Something Now.

I should not need discern whether or not the alert is for me or someone in a different state or on the other side of my state.

False alarms incubate complacency.


mikedz4

join:2003-04-14
Weirton, WV
Reviews:
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reply to Mr Matt
Comcast has no control over this. This is under your local emergency management, and the fcc. If you don't like the eas I suggest calling or writing your local emergency management and they should point you in the right direction or explain it better to you.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4

3 edits
Which then just sends them over my way....

It's a tiered cascade problem. An alert is aggregated from various agencies such as NOAA, Presidential, State Government and Local Government, all of which, with the exception of the Required Weekly Test, Comcast has no control over. If any of those agencies issues an alert at 3am or 8pm or whenever, Comcast has to broadcast it even if it's not convenient for the customer. Any number of reasons could be causing the various issues seen, such as incorrectly programmed equipment, human error for a manually switched transmission, or even as simple as using the wrong alert source which I'll clarify on.

Here is the New Jersey Emergency Alert System Plan »www.state.nj.us/njoem/pdf/EAS_plan.pdf

In my area for example our Primary Entry Point is WRAT FM, a radio station with a direct line to the State Police in the state capitol of Trenton. From them WRAT FM broadcasts the alerts which is then picked up by the Comcast of Monmouth County (I live in Ocean County) headend which our (Toms River) cable equipment connects to. Comcast of Monmouth County uses WRAT as their source. If for some reason Comcast of Monmouth County uses a different radio station Primary Entry Point such as WPST FM which services Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset, the emergency messages sent out from WPST will be sent to the Comcast of Monmouth County headend and broadcasted out to Monmouth and Ocean County viewers which would contain irrelevant information or no information at all which would be a bad thing if there was an active emergency in those two counties such as a Tornado or Civil Danger Warning.

This example I've pointed out above can be substituted for other states and counties that have erroneous alerts across the country.

This can occur either by accident or intentionally if the reception of the PEP source is poor due to atmospheric interference on any given day or weather and not changed back or done so without authorization.

For those who truly want to understand how the emergency alert system works and what problems have been discovered and what is being done to fix it, I highly recommend reading this »transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Release···52A1.pdf it also mentions my scenario where the wrong PEP station was used and alerts weren't getting passed down the daisy chain to the public correctly.

Camper here is the Connecticut EAS plan »www.ctba.org/FCKeditorUserFiles/···raft.pdf which might help understand things.
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BellevueBob

join:2013-10-12
Bellevue, WA
This discussion reminds me of a Ron White Comedy bit about the post-9/11 color codes: »www.metrolyrics.com/heightened-s···ite.html

I've also seen many "monthly tests" appear more than once a month, but usually on different channels. I remember on Saturday morning where I swear that test happened on at leat five different channels at different times.

I also get these strange "Amber alerts" about missing or kidnapped children. But don't worry; if I see an 85-pound, 9-year-old blond female in the company of a 35-45 yo Hispanic male in a blue shirt driving a dark green Honda though my living room, I'm calling 911 even if I didn't see the Amber alert.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
If you are talking about the required tests certain television stations have to do, the cable provider broadcasting the stations is obliviously passing whatever is broadcast from the channel passively. For example ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW, PBS each performes a required weekly and monthly test on their own schedules though normally the required monthly test is done by all of them on the same day within a 2 hour window of each other.
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I'm always up for a good chat and helping with tech problems.


nonamesleft

join:2011-11-07
Manitowoc, WI
reply to camper

Re: [Connection] Emergency Alert Test interruptions

I'm getting the unencrypted qam channels, and I have been noticing that when the tv displays the no signal message all channels are out, and the internet drops at the same time.