Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mobile Emergency Alert Finalized by FCC

Not expected until April 2010, the Commerical Mobile Alert System moved a step closer to being a reality when the FCC issued guidelines for CMAS. 

Think of CMAS as the emergency broadcast system for mobile devices like smartphones.  There will be three types of alerts:
  • Presidential alerts
  • Imminent threat alerts
  • Amber alerts
Keep in mind this is from the FCC, not FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency.  In fact, there is currently no plans from FEMA to work with CMAS.  And though most of the major wireless providers have pledge support for CMAS, they wll need to alert the FCC about their participation. 

This is what it means to mobile warriors (and regular phone users) going forward.  If your provider declines participation or you signed up for a contract and then the provider backs out, the provider will need to notify all customers about their lack of participation.  Thus, if this happens, you are entitled to cancel your contract without incurring the wrath of the carrier.

It begs the question what the option the carrier will have to provide alerts to users if at all.

At the same time, users will have the optiont to opt out of Presidential alerts but imminent threat and Amber alerts are required. 

Now, the cost.  Some how, you and I will bare the cost.  The FCC has directed carriers from imposing  separate costs to the customer but are free to increase monthly fees to recoup the cost. 

Note:  When carriers look to increase monthly fees to "recoup" the cost, it would be a great opportunity for them to pad their margins as well.  Something to watch carefully.

Source:  Yahoo via Mobility Today

Impact:  We will not see CMAS for another two years and a lot of will change to between now and then.  Of course, FEMA will need to weigh in and be involved in the process.  After all, they are the emergency agency for the United States.  While this is a preparatory apparatus and we will not know how will it works until it is emplemented.  Knock on wood.

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