Emergency Alerts Coming to Mobile Devices, Says CRTC

by Istvan Fekete on June 4, 2015

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) applauded the wireless industry’s move to develop specifications to deliver emergency alert messages through cell phones.

In the forthcoming months, wireless industry players and the emergency management community will test the technology, and a public project is planned for 2016. This applies to mobile devices, alongside the interface between the national public alert system and LTE networks.

The technical specs were outlined by the Network Working Group under the CRTC’s Interconnection Steering Committee.

“The experience in other jurisdictions has shown that mobile alerts are an efficient way to alert citizens in an emergency situation and even save lives,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “We are encouraged by the progress made to date, and urge all stakeholders to move as quickly as possible to make wireless public alerting a reality. Canadians carry their mobile devices with them everywhere and should have access to life-saving information as soon as it is available.”

The notification system builds upon a recently launched alert messaging system developed for radio and television services: The system, launched on March 31, 2015, allows emergency management officials such as fire marshals, police officers, and public health personnel to issue emergency alerts to warn Canadians of Amber Alerts, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, water contamination, and industrial disasters.

“Canadians have told us that emergency alerts on television and radio services are helpful, but that they would be more effective on mobile devices. The development of standards is an important step in ensuring that Canadians receive emergency alerts wherever they happen to be. More work needs to be done to ensure the standards will work in the real world, and we will continue to monitor this initiative,” said CRTC’s Peter Menzies, Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications.

Although the CRTC mandated all broadcasters, five of them weren’t ready when the system launched this March. Since there are more than 28 million wireless subscribers in the country, the CRTC sees the initiative as critical, complementing emergency messages sent through the broadcasting system.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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