This week, the Federal Communications Commission approved new rules that should further improve the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system. For those not familiar with WEA, it is a system designed to transmit critical warnings and notifications to American mobile users. Apart from alerts regarding weather information, natural disasters, and other emergencies, the WEA system also has Amber Alerts, which delivers notifications on children reported missing.
The WEA system first debuted on mobile devices about four years ago, providing information mainly on weather. Upon receiving a notification from WEA, the handset makes a high pitch sound and then displays a message on the screen, typically a short description of an emergency. Due to the fact that the WEA system is on mobile devices, the signals are triangulated so that notifications on weather updates will be localized. As for Amber Alerts, they were originally issued by way of television broadcasts, radio, and Department of Transportation highway signs to notify people about missing children. Then in 2005, the wireless industry officially launched the Wireless Amber Alerts program, effectively bringing the alert system to mobile devices. The aim was to recover missing, abducted, or exploited children, and then use the existing wireless network to disseminate information to the public more efficiently.
Based on the new rules the FCC has adopted, the WEA alerts for 4G LTE and upcoming forms of wireless technology has now been extended to 360 characters in length, a significant improvement over the previous 90 character limit based on old rules. Moreover, the FCC will be mandating that every wireless service provider participant should have support for embedded phone numbers and URLs in all types of alerts. This should give mobile users the ability to view a picture of a missing child or contact the authorities. With regards to coverage, the FCC will also require mobile operators to transmit alerts to more granular geographic locations so that the distribution of notifications will be more specific to the user’s vicinity. Lastly, wireless providers will be required to also have support for alerts written in Spanish.
On top of all this, the new rules established a new classification of alerts called Public Safety Messages. The information categorized in this new alert class generally include notifications for ensuring the safety of the populace and property. Examples include info on the location of emergency shelters or advisories on the availability of food, medicine, and other supplies in times of calamities.
Wirefly Is America's Most Trusted Source For All Cell Phones, Plans, TV, and Internet Deals
Wirefly offers great deals on a large selection of smartphones, cell phones, tablets, mobile hotspots, and other wireless devices for the nation's most popular carriers. Use Wirefly’s innovative cell phone and plan comparison tools to ensure you are getting the best deal on the market. Shop with confidence knowing that Wirefly wants to help you find the best prices on cell phones, cell phone plans, TV, and Internet service.