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Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,
Welcome back to The Wireless Messaging News.
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates a/k/a IWA Technical Services
Every time I see Ira Wiesenfeld's name pop up on my iPhone my mouth starts watering like “Pavlov's dog” because I know he will probably be driving through this part of the country, and will be inviting me to have lunch or dinner with him.
Ira—in case you didn't know—is a Field Engineer, par excellence, who travels all over the country working on various kinds of radio communications systems. I always recommend him when someone contacts me needing help with a paging system.
So we did meet for lunch, and I had the privilege of meeting his new V.P. of Marketing, Joe Delio. Joe is a very knowledgeable veteran of technical training.
They are doing a lot of cool stuff, including: System Design, Installation, Maintenance, and Technical Training.
Check out their new company logo, and contact information.
I read another of those sad anti-paging articles this week. This one goes on and on about the results of a “research study” that followed approximately 11,500 patients at 2 hospitals showing that patients whose providers used mobile secure text messaging instead of pagers — reduced their average length of stay from 6.0 to 5.4 days, and 0.77 days over a one-year period.
Wow . . . I can't claim to have expertise in this kind of “research” but I seriously doubt that all the people involved in collecting this data were always accurate, and I wonder who got paid, and how much they got paid to do this “study.”
I think you can give a grant to an academic to do a research study and “prove” your foregone conclusion* about nearly anything.
* A conclusion formed in advance of proper consideration of evidence, arguments, etc.
You gotta be kidding, 0.6 to 0.77 days? Gimme me a break!
Now on to more news and views.
Wayne County, Illinois
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.
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Industry Insights: What’s Up With WhatsApp for Emergency Communications?
BY JOSEPH MAZZARELLA ON APR 19, 2016
Editor's note: Industry Insights are sponsored blogs submitted by manufacturers and suppliers serving the EMS industry.
When terror struck Brussels on March 22, 2016, one thing that quickly became evident was how much more needs to be done to ensure effective and efficient communications for first responders worldwide.
In its aftermath, various media sources reported that Brussels police were forced to use WhatsApp Messenger to communicate with one another in the aftermath of the attacks and that widespread communication problems hampered emergency services.
Commercial mobile networks in the area were overwhelmed by increased traffic and Brussels’ emergency services network, ASTRID, likewise failed, leaving law enforcement unable to connect and collaborate in the chaos.
As an instant messaging client for smartphones, WhatsApp may be wonderful for personal communications, but it is hardly sufficient to meet the demands for real time communications in the midst of a life-critical crisis.
Unfortunately, a lack of reliable emergency communications systems is not unique to Brussels. If a large-scale terrorist attack were to happen on U.S. soil tomorrow, there is a significant risk that similar failures would occur. In fact, in countless cases since 9/11, communications failures coupled with the continuing inability to inter-operate with partner responder agencies during major emergencies have been reported as a serious issue in after action reports.
The range includes failures in communications and interoperability during Hurricane Katrina, the Deep Horizon Spill, the Aurora Theater shooting, the Washington Navy Yard shooting and L’Enfant Train Station Fire, among others. Fortunately, there are simple, quick, cost-effective and uncontroversial steps that can literally be taken today that would greatly enhance our ability to respond more effectively to terror attacks.
When terror strikes, an effective emergency response requires massive cooperation and information sharing among law enforcement agencies and federal, state and local agencies to eliminate the threat and minimize causalities. First responders must be able to communicate in real time with relevant parties for ongoing assessment and rapid decision-making during unfolding situations.
In these scenarios, information is at a premium and every moment of uncertainty, confusion, delay or indecision can inevitably lead to an increased number of injuries and deaths. With real-time situational awareness and coordination being perhaps the most critical components of a first-response effort, there is no greater truism than “time saved is lives saved.”
One of our biggest obstacles is a surprisingly simple one—public safety officials and government entities cannot effectively communicate with each other (inter-operate) in real time during an emergency. Sadly, this crucial functional deficit was identified long ago in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. In the intervening 15years, tens of billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on new radio digital radio communications systems based on the premise of improving interoperability, but in reality these new systems never delivered on their primary mission, at least not in any meaningful way.
In the United States, initiatives such as FirstNet and the DHS Interoperable Communications Act represent earnest attempts to remedy this persistent problem and are positive steps in the right direction. With FirstNet, congested commercial mobile networks, like those experienced in Brussels, would no longer be needed. Instead, a dedicated private public safety broadband network similar to commercial mobile networks will be available exclusively to first responders. With FirstNet, a broad range of new applications and interactive services will furnish first responders with cutting edge capabilities in the field that vastly exceed the limited voice communications now provided by legacy radio communications systems. Still, more must be done—and can be done now without much heavy lifting or cost.
Proven, commercially available solutions for communications interoperability are at our disposal. DHS maintains a list of Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies (QUATTs) that have already undergone a rigorous review and testing process under the SAFETY Act (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology). Furthermore, DHS certifies a list of “Approved Products for Homeland Security” that are ready to be deployed in defense of our homeland, but remain inexplicably underutilized. These technologies enable secure bridging of public safety agency communication systems with partners and critical infrastructure entities on demand, providing instant, on-demand collaboration using existing systems. In fact, these technologies are used extensively in select parts of the country by hundreds of state and local agencies, but still far too few.
Increased deployment of these technologies would result in secure communications among police, fire and EMS, as well as with thousands of local partner agencies that sit on the front line of terror in America—such as hospitals, transit authorities and utilities. We would all do well to remind ourselves that our mission is to protect Main Street, U.S.A. with an urgency commensurate with the serious threats confronting our communities and our citizens. There is no greater imperative. It is simply unacceptable for police and other emergency responders to rely on consumer-grade smartphone apps for emergency communications when life-saving technology advancements are available today.
Joseph Mazzarella serves as Mutualink’s senior vice president and chief legal counsel. In addition to being responsible for the management of Mutualink’s legal and governmental affairs, he serves in key operations management and business development roles. He has over 20 years of corporate, finance, M&A, licensing and IP law experience and has in-depth knowledge and experience in the high tech sector, ranging from consumer and enterprise based software development, advanced wireless network and location technologies, and communications. He also serves as a member of Mutualink’s Board of Directors.
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Iowa Legislature patches 'holes' in emergency communications network
Move will allow law enforcement agencies statewide to communicate with each other
Dispatcher Ana Amaro answers a call at her station at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Apr 27, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Print View
DES MOINES — Iowa lawmakers have agreed to a $68 million patch for “holes” in a statewide communications network so law enforcement, firefighters and other emergency responders will be able to talk to one another.
The House, Senate and Gov. Terry Branstad’s office have reached an agreement on the $68 million, 10-year lease-to-own package that is expected to take three years to build out, according to Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake. The price tag may be less, he said, because State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald believes he can get a better interest rate than originally estimated.
There long have been problems with agencies not being able to communicate because of incompatible radios and networks, said Sen. Kevin Kinney, D-Oxford, a retired Johnson County deputy sheriff. In Johnson County, for example, the sheriff’s deputies and Iowa City police were on different frequencies.
“You could be right outside a bank being robbed and wouldn’t know it unless you happened to be listening to your scanner,” he said.
That problem has been resolved, and now Senate File 2326 should eliminate similar problems around the state. The plan includes building additional towers in places like northeast Iowa, where radio communication is limited by the topography, Worthan said.
“There are spots in Iowa where radios don’t work because of holes in the system,” Kinney said. In those cases, he added, not only are emergency response agencies unable to communicate with one another, “but no one can hear an officer if he needs help.”
The plan also includes hardware — radios, for example — and the software to run the Statewide Interoperable Communications System.
Local agencies — fire departments and emergency medical services — will be able to use the statewide system without charge, but will have to buy their own radio equipment, Worthan said.
The system will be financed by a $1-a-month surcharge paid by cellphone users.
SF 2326, which was approved by the Senate 49-1, was approved 98-0 by the House and sent to the governor.
Disaster-Proven Paging for Public Safety
Paging system designs in the United States typically use a voice radio-style infrastructure. These systems are primarily designed for outdoor mobile coverage with modest indoor coverage. Before Narrowbanding, coverage wasn’t good, but what they have now is not acceptable! The high power, high tower approach also makes the system vulnerable. If one base station fails, a large area loses their paging service immediately!
Almost every technology went from analog to digital except fire paging. So it’s time to think about digital paging! The Disaster-Proven Paging Solution (DiCal) from Swissphone offers improved coverage, higher reliability and flexibility beyond anything that traditional analog or digital paging systems can provide.
Swissphone is the No. 1 supplier for digital paging solutions worldwide. The Swiss company has built paging networks for public safety organizations all over the world. Swissphone has more than 1 million pagers in the field running for years and years due to their renowned high quality.
DiCal is the digital paging system developed and manufactured by Swissphone. It is designed to meet the specific needs of public safety organizations. Fire and EMS rely on these types of networks to improve incident response time. DiCal systems are designed and engineered to provide maximum indoor paging coverage across an entire county. In a disaster situation, when one or several connections in a simulcast solution are disrupted or interrupted, the radio network automatically switches to fall back operating mode. Full functionality is preserved at all times. This new system is the next level of what we know as “Simulcast Paging” here in the U.S.
Swissphone offers high-quality pagers, very robust and waterproof. Swissphone offers the best sensitivity in the industry, and battery autonomy of up to three months. First responder may choose between a smart s.QUAD pager, which is able to connect with a smartphone and the Hurricane DUO pager, the only digital pager who offers text-to-voice functionality.
Bluetooth technology makes it possible to connect the s.QUAD with a compatible smartphone, and ultimately with various s.ONE software solutions from Swissphone. Thanks to Bluetooth pairing, the s.QUAD combines the reliability of an independent paging system with the benefits of commercial cellular network. Dispatched team members can respond back to the call, directly from the pager. The alert message is sent to the pager via paging and cellular at the same time. This hybrid solution makes the alert faster and more secure. Paging ensures alerting even if the commercial network fails or is overloaded.
Swissphone sets new standards in paging:
Swissphone provides a proven solution at an affordable cost. Do you want to learn more?
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Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.
Portions of Rate-of-Return Reform Order Effective May 25; Others Pending OMB Approval
On April 25, the FCC published its Rate-of-Return Reform Order in the Federal Register, establishing an effective date of May 25 for several of the rules adopted therein. However, some rules still require separate approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and will not go into effect until that approval has been obtained.
The Federal Register publication also starts the 30-day clock for the filing of any petitions for reconsideration of the Order. Any clients that are interested in participating in such petition should contact us ASAP.
See the full article below for more information.
Portions of Rate-of-Return Reform Order Effective May 25; Others Pending OMB Approval
On April 25, the FCC published its Rate-of-Return Reform Order in the Federal Register, establishing an effective date of May 25 for several of the rules adopted therein. This includes the first step reduction of the authorized rate of return (from 11.25% to 11% on July 1, 2016). However, some rules still require separate approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and will not go into effect until that approval has been obtained. This includes certain key provisions, such as the ability to elect to receive A-CAM support (54.311(a)), and the disaggregation of support for census blocks with unsubsidized competition (54.319(e)). Even for those sections that do go into effect on May 25, it is expected that they will take time to implement.
Specifically, the rules not effective May 25 include:
FCC Announces New Requirements for FCC Registration Numbers – Effective Date is Sept. 1, 2016
In an effort to ensure security of FCC registration numbers, the FCC is changing the Commission’s Registration System (“CORES”) in order to implement several user-specific identification requirements. In addition to enhancing security, the FCC believes that these changes will also make the FCC’s CORES system more user friendly.
These changes will:
Some of the changes being implemented by the FCC were proposed almost five and a half years ago in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in MD Docket No. 10-234. Nonetheless, the FCC is making certain changes from the NPRM and others without notice and comment rulemaking since the changes are considered administrative in nature and not subject to the rulemaking process. The FCC believes that the changes are necessary to strengthen the security of its records (including social security numbers and federal Employer Identification Numbers) and make CORES more user friendly as well as strengthen the FCC’s ability to comply with various statutes and regulations governing debt collection activities and the collection of personal information.
The Commission will be implementing a pilot launch on April 29, 2016 for a four month period ending on August 31, 2016 in order to test its proposed system and obtain feedback from users of the CORES system. The pilot program will initially be targeted to users of the Commission’s Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) as well as business and governmental entities that have a significant number of registered FRNs associated with a single EIN as well as the top 100 Regulatory Fee payers by FRN. While the pilot program initially will not be available for most of our clients’ participation, we anticipate that the FCC will expand the scope to include other user or stakeholder groups.
Law & Regulation
FCC Publishes Agenda for April 28 Meeting
Last week, the FCC issued the official agenda for its Open Meeting on Thursday, April 28. At the meeting, the FCC will consider:
Audio/Video coverage of the meeting will be broadcast live with open captioning over the Internet from the FCC Live web page at www.fcc.gov/live .
Lifeline Modernization Order Finally Released
On April 27, the FCC finally released the full text of its Third Report and Order on Lifeline Modernization, which was originally adopted on March 31. As readers will recall, this is the Order that made broadband part of the Lifeline program.
Specifically, the Order allows for Lifeline support for standalone fixed and mobile broadband services, as well as establishes minimum service standards for broadband and mobile voice services offered through the program. The changes will occur over a five and one-half year transition, during which the FCC will gradually increase mobile voice and data requirements and gradually decrease voice support levels. The Order also establishes the National Verifier, which is intended to transfer the responsibility of eligibility determination away from Lifeline providers, thereby lowering costs of conducting verification and reducing the risks of facing a verification-related enforcement action.
The Order also creates a streamlined federal Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) designation process as an alternative to the traditional ETC designation process, establishes an annual budget of $2.25 billion, and adopts other reforms to the recertification process.
Senate Holds Executive Session on FCC Reauthorization Bill, Process Reform
On April 27, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation held an executive session to consider S. 2644, The FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016, sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), and S. 421, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015, sponsored by Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.)
The FCC Reauthorization Act:
The FCC Process Reform Act:
Committee Leaders Seek Briefings on Vulnerabilities of SS7
On April 26, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA), sent letters to AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier, Sprint, and T-Mobile requesting a briefing on the vulnerabilities of the Signaling System 7 (SS7).
The concern appears to have risen from a recent report on CBS News’ 60 Minutes, titled "Hacking Your Phone," that apparently alleges that there is at least one security flaw in SS7. To each of the major carriers the representatives wrote, "Given the role of SS7 in our global communications networks, these vulnerabilities expose anyone using a phone to a possible security breach. In order for the Committee to gain a better understanding of any security flaws in the SS7 protocol and the risks they represents, we request that the Chief Technology Officer of your company be available to brief the Committee."
DOJ, FCC Sign Off on Charter Merger
On April 25, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release announcing its would allow Charter Communications Inc. to complete its $78 billion proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and its related $10.4 billion acquisition of Bright House Networks LLC. The new company, referred to as “New Charter,” forms the second-largest Internet provider (Comcast is ahead) and the third-largest video provider (Comcast and post-merger DirecTV are ahead), with an estimated 21 million broadband subscribers and 17.4 million video subscribers. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler also issued a statement recommending the merger, and will be circulating an order approving the merger, with conditions.
New Charter will not be allowed to implement data caps or data usage-based charges, and will be required to build out its broadband access to two million homes, in an effort to build competition in certain markets. New Charter will also be prohibited from entering into or enforcing any agreement with a programmer that forbids, limits or creates incentives to limit the programmer’s provision of content to one or more online video distributors, such as Netflix, and will not be able to avail itself of other distributors’ “most favored nation” provisions if they are inconsistent with this prohibition. New Charter is also prohibited from retaliating against programmers for licensing to online video distributors.
Chairman Wheeler Tempers Incentive Auction Expectations
At the NAB Show in Las Vegas, an annual conference and expo for professionals who create, manage, and distribute entertainment, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler gave a 40-minute Q&A session in which he said, among other things, not to expect the incentive auction to be a "one-and-done kind of activity." Rather, the Chairman noted, the bidding process could involve going back and forth between the reverse auction and the forward until a balance is struck. Wheeler also noted that FCC's auction team is focusing on what happens after the auction ends and the remaining TV broadcasters have to be moved to new channels.
The incentive auction rules require that certain financial benchmarks be met before the auction can be closed, in order to ensure that the public is fairly compensated for the spectrum and the FCC recovers enough money to carry out certain reimbursement obligations created by Congress; and if these benchmarks are not met, the FCC will press the “reset button” by reducing the number of spectrum blocks being sold until there is enough demand to reach the financial prerequisites.
The Chairman also spoke at length about the status of the joint petition filed by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), America's Public Television Stations (APTS) and the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance, asking the FCC to approve voluntary, market-based rollout of a new TV transmission standard, ATSC 3.0. “ATSC 3.0 is significant,” Wheeler said. “We need to move with dispatch to get that into the public debate. I intend to put that out for public notice before the end of the month.”
The entire Q&A session can be viewed online here .
MAY 2: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.
MAY 31: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on May 31. The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report.
JULY 1: FCC FORM 481 (CARRIER ANNUAL REPORTING DATA COLLECTION FORM). All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) must report the information required by Section 54.313, which includes outage, unfulfilled service request, and complaint data, broken out separately for voice and broadband services, information on the ETC’s holding company, operating companies, ETC affiliates and any branding in response to section 54.313(a)(8); its CAF-ICC certification, if applicable; its financial information, if a privately held rate-of-return carrier; and its satellite backhaul certification, if applicable. Form 481 must not only be filed with USAC, but also with the FCC and the relevant state commission and tribal authority, as appropriate.
Although USAC treats the filing as confidential, filers must seek confidential treatment separately with the FCC and the relevant state commission and tribal authority if confidential treatment is desired.
JULY 1: MOBILITY FUND PHASE I ANNUAL REPORT. Winning bidders in Auction 901 that are authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support are required to submit to the Commission an annual report each year on July 1 for the five years following authorization. Each annual report must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, clearly referencing WT Docket No. 10-208; the Universal Service Administrator; and the relevant state commissions, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described in Section 54.1009 of the Commission’s rules.
JULY 29: CARRIER IDENTIFICATION CODE (CIC) REPORTS. Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Reports must be filed by the last business day of July (this year, July 29). These reports are required of all carriers who have been assigned a CIC code by NANPA. Failure to file could result in an effort by NANPA to reclaim it, although according to the Guidelines this process is initiated with a letter from NANPA regarding the apparent non-use of the CIC code. The assignee can then respond with an explanation. (Guidelines Section 6.2). The CIC Reporting Requirement is included in the CIC Assignment Guidelines, produced by ATIS. According to section 1.4 of that document: At the direction of the NANPA, the access providers and the entities who are assigned CICs will be requested to provide access and usage information to the NANPA, on a semi-annual basis to ensure effective management of the CIC resource. (Holders of codes may respond to the request at their own election). Access provider and entity reports shall be submitted to NANPA no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31, and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. It is also referenced in the NANPA Technical Requirements Document, which states at 7.18.6: CIC holders shall provide a usage report to the NANPA per the industry CIC guidelines … The NAS shall be capable of accepting CIC usage reports per guideline requirements on January 31 for the period ending December 31 and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. These reports may also be mailed and accepted by the NANPA in paper form. Finally, according to the NANPA website, if no local exchange carrier reports access or usage for a given CIC, NANPA is obliged to reclaim it. The semi-annual utilization and access reporting mechanism is described at length in the guidelines.
AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 507, UNIVERSAL SERVICE QUARTERLY LINE COUNT UPDATE. Line count updates are required to recalculate a carrier's per line universal service support, and is filed with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). This information must be submitted on July 31 each year by all rate-of-return incumbent carriers, and on a quarterly basis if a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier (CETC) has initiated service in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area and reported line count data to USAC in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area, in order for the incumbent carrier to be eligible to receive Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS). Because July 31 falls on a Sunday this year, the filing will be due August 1. This quarterly filing is due July 31 and covers lines served as of December 31, 2013. Incumbent carriers filing on a quarterly basis must also file on September 30 (for lines served as of March 31, 2014); December 30 (for lines served as of June 30, 2014), and March 31, 2015 , for lines served as of September 30, 2014)
|This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm. For additional information, please contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or email@example.com .|
Mobile phone disaster warning system completed
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
The nation’s 4G telecoms have finished building and testing a public warning system (PWS) for natural disasters, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.
People can start receiving disaster-warning messages from the PWS on July 1 after the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NCDR) finishes its part of the testing, by the end of June, it added.
The system was proposed in 2011, when Japan was severely hit by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and a subsequent quake-induced tsunami.
NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng said the commission is to upload a list of mobile phones that are able to receive the disaster-related messages on its Web site, which would be available for the public to view on Sunday.
Yu said the telecoms had been able to deliver disaster-warning messages, but they were only able to send a maximum of 2,000 messages per minute.
He said the PWS utilizes cell broadcast technology, which can simultaneously send more than 100,000 messages in targeted regions within seconds.
Yu said the service, which would be offered free of charge to mobile phone users, is only possible via a 4G service. As such, people with mobile phones that can only process 2G service would not be able to receive the messages from the PWS, he said.
Subscribers of 2G services can still receive the disaster-warning messages through the previous method, he said.
Yu said the NCDR first receives messages from the devices detecting natural disasters or from agencies monitoring the occurrences of these disasters, which are then processed at the cell broadcast entity.
He said these messages are then converted into readable formats and sent to the telecoms, which subsequently send them to their service subscribers that might be affected by a certain natural disaster through their base stations installed nationwide.
Yu said that telecoms have finished the tests of PWS from their ends to their subscribers, with the test results showing that the time needed to send the message could take from two seconds to more than 10 seconds.
“The goal is that the NCDR would complete building and testing their part of the PWS by June 30,” Yu said. “The total time needed to transmit the message from the NCDR to the mobile phone users would have to be determined based on how fast the NCDR can process information from disaster-monitoring agencies or devices.”
The NCC said mobile phones certified by the commission after March 1 are supposed to be able to receive the messages disseminated through cell broadcast technology.
For mobile phones certified before March 1, manufacturers are asked to upgrade their systems so that users can receive the message from the PWS as well.
A telecom service expert said the nation’s telecoms have established public warning systems for 2G, 3G and 4G service users. While 4G users can receive messages from the PWS while they are on the phone or the Internet, 3G users cannot receive messages if they are sent when they are talking on the phone or are online. However, 2G users can only receive text messages through the mobile phone network.
[Editor's note: Only a few cellular telephone systems have implemented cell broadcast technology, so that they can transmit a common alert text message to (many) multiple subscribers, which — of course — paging has always been able to do.]
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