By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Cities
Federal officials will launch a new emergency alert system for mobile phones in Washington, D.C. and New York City by the end of the year.
Federal officials announced Tuesday that they will launch a new emergency alert system for mobile phones in Washington, D.C. and New York City by the end of the year.
Called the "Personal Localized Alerting Network," or PLAN, the service is backed by the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the four major U.S. wireless carriers -- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. It promises to quickly dissipate information during an emergency situation.
Most Americans know the emergency broadcast system through its traditional channels: radio and television. But as cellphones become the primary platform through which people receive information -- low- or high-income, urban or rural, the cellphone is ubiquitous -- officials thought including them in their efforts would help them reach more citizens.
Here's how it works: consumers who currently own or plan to buy newer smartphones and cell phones sold by the four major carriers will be able to receive the free message, which appears like a text message on the screen but also activates the phone's vibration mode.
The system will be used by participating federal, state and local agencies to send information about only the most serious alerts, such as warnings about natural disasters, terrorist attacks or AMBER Alerts. Leveraging GPS technology, it will be geographically limited, so only New Yorkers receive updates about their city, and so forth.
Questions remain for the service, such as:
- What about the thousands of Americans out of reach of mobile towers? Do we expect TV or radio to reach them?
- What if the emergency involves the saturation or destruction of mobile towers? (The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York come to mind.) What then?
- What about customers of other mobile carriers, such as Boost Mobile or MetroPCS? Will they be excluded, or included, because their carriers lease space on the major carriers' wireless infrastructure?
Nevertheless, the announcement shows how government agencies are working with the private sector to use technology for public safety.
Photo: Bill Koplitz/FEMA
May 9, 2011
Definition of DISSIPATE transitive verb 1 a : to break up and drive off (as a crowd) b : to cause to spread thin or scatter and gradually vanish 2 : to be extravagant or dissolute in the pursuit of pleasure; especially : to drink to excess ??? dis??si??pat??er noun Check your words before you use them, Andrew. I think the word you wanted is disseminate. Definition of DISSEMINATE transitive verb 1 : to spread abroad as though sowing seed 2 : to disperse throughout Sorry, couldn't resist. It was too easy and obvious.
Federal Govt gives the information to all carriers and the carriers send a FREE text message to all of their phones registered in the area. That also means that if you are out of cellphone area, you probably are not concerened.
The Federal government forces private companies to install a government chip on everyone's cellphones and there is nothing but crickets chirping. Funny the Feds never forced companies to put S.A.M.E. recievers in TVs or radios. Is that a googly you feel going up your leg?
It's just not an important distinction. After all, there is practically no difference between lightning and a lightning bug, either.
Hey, thanx for this! I am relieved to know that I am NOT the LAST person who still realizes that words are supposed to have SPECIFIC meanings! These days, it seems most writers and broadcasters are content to just say something SIMILAR-sounding to what they really mean, and the readers/hearers are supposed to decipher what they are trying to say. Some people barely understand each other when the language is CORRECT; no wonder there is so much confusion when people aren't even saying what they mean!
The text "will be able to" indicates this is an optional service each wireless customer can opt in on if they choose. The FCCand the pres have the authority to offer whatever service they want. If you wish to appear intelligent you may want to keep your comments relevant.
Probably not optional. Cell phones send a GPS signal for 911 services which you can NOT opt out of. My smartphone uses 3 categories of GPS; 2 of them can be turned off & on, but the 911 one cannot be disabled...