FCC Signals First Wireless Alert Test Was Success

Says system integrating wireless and broadcast alerts was effective
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WASHINGTON — In the first end-to-end nationwide test of delivering wireless emergency alerts (WEAs) to cellphones, the Federal Communications Commission said the alerts were “an effective alerting tool to rapidly disseminate emergency information to the public.”


That conclusion, in a report on the test released Monday (April 8), was based on survey data from various sources as well as news reports. The FCC did say there were still issues with ”ensuring more consistent delivery, reducing duplicate messages, and resolving issues concerning alert message audio tone and vibration cadence.“

The FCC tested both the wireless and traditional broadcast-disseminated (Emergency Alert System) alerts on Oct. 3, 2018.

The FCC said the test showed that the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) update to EAS delivered ”high-quality, effective, and accessible EAS alerts, and that EAS participants’ results are comparable to 2017 performance levels, with continued improvement in several areas.“

IPAWS is the system that integrates both the EAS and WEA alerts.

The report was released at about the same time National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas, was pointing out the value of his members as first informers during emergencies and calling for device manufacturers to put TV receiving chips in smart devices.