FCC, FEMA Agree On Wireless Text Emergency Alert System
December 8, 2009 at 4:52 AM (PT)
The FCC and the FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY have reached agreement on the design specifications for the development of a gateway interface for emergency alerts via cell phones and mobile devices.
The new Commercial Mobile Alert System is designed to send out 90 character geographically targeted text messages to the public for emergency alerts and warnings of imminent threats to life and property, Amber alerts, and Presidential emergency messages. Participating wireless providers have 28 months to develop, test and deploy the system and deliver mobile alerts to the public by 2012. Radio broadcasters have been lobbying for a mandate to make wireless carriers put FM tuners in cell phones for emergency alert purposes, but the proposed system would offer text-based alerts rather than audio messages.
"Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to ensuring that Americans receive critical emergency alerts and warnings to protect themselves on the go, anywhere, anytime," said FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI. "I applaud FEMA for its leadership and look forward to working with both FEMA and the wireless industry to expedite the delivery of this important public safety service to consumers."