Government to Send Emergency Text Alerts Via Cellphones

A number of media outlets have reported that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that major cellular carriers will begin to carry emergency text alerts. Given the subscriber bases of the four major telecoms involved -- AT&T (T), Verizon Wireless, Sprint-Nextel (S), and T-Mobile (DTE) -- the alerts could reach 250 million people.

"This is the ability to have your mobile device be an emergency alert device," Genachowski said, according to a Bloomberg report. "Government officials can send alerts in the event of major disasters, can do it on a localized basis, and can make sure that the alerts get through even if there's network congestion." Such alerts could be sent at a national, state or municipal level, depending on the extent of the emergency.

The system will probably be used infrequently because disasters effecting large numbers of people are few and far between. But some recent incidents have exemplified the circumstances under which such a system would be most valuable. Indeed, had it been up and running Monday night, it could have broadcast news about the cresting Mississippi River flood waters that reached Memphis: It is probable that not everyone in the region around the city knew the extent or level of the flood, nor where it was likely to do the most damage.

Even so, it is possible that such a system may be redundant before it launches. In this age of instant cellular communication particularly through Facebook, Twitter and SMS, how necessary is a government-run information dissemination system? The news of Osama Bin Laden's death reached many people via Twitter before it was officially announced. Today, both good news and bad travels fast -- even without help from Washington.



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jjohnpitt

Yes, definitely it would be the good idea and people will like it as well.If this country was in great shape you wouldn't have to worry about what is going across the world wide web.

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May 13 2011 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thomasva6

this might be good when we get nuked.

May 11 2011 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
radardetector

it would be nice if they alert me too where to find the lowest Gas price

May 10 2011 at 9:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
JIM

GREAT IDEA---TO ALERT POPULATION ABOUT IMPENDING DANGERS---ESPECIALLY WHEN OUR LOCAL/NEIGHBORHOOD (NOAA)---ALARMS ARE TERRIBLE---CANNOT HEAR AT NIGHT DURING SLEEP HRS, ETC-------GREAT IDEA !!!

May 10 2011 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jkennedy806

What is Washington worried ?? they have to monitor text's too -- talk about paranoid. stop worrying Washington and start working. If this country was in great shape you wouldn't have to worry about what is going across the world wide web. Oh and thanks alot for blocking world news sites last week after Osama bin Laden. what trying out the new kill switch

May 10 2011 at 9:28 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply