The Federal Communications Commission Thursday established rules for the first-ever test of a nationwide "Presidential Alert" system.
The system, which is designed to allow the White House to send a national alert across the country in case of a major national emergency, was first tested regionally in Alaska last year. The coming test will be the first test to actually go nationwide, FCC spokesman Robert Kenny said.
"The test will assist the FCC, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service, with assessing the current system and better determining what improvements need to be made to further strengthen the Nation's EAS, particularly as broadband technologies continue to emerge," according to a FCC statement.
Thursday's actions simply get the ball rolling, Kenny said, with the test likely not taking place before the end of the year.
"It will take a lot of coordination between our agencies and broadcasters, and we will be doing a lot of public outreach so people know it's coming," Kenny said.