Emergency Alerts To Be Sent Out Over Cell Phones

The first emergency alert decoder product that will allow the well-established radio and television broadcast-based Emergency Alert System (EAS) warnings to be expanded to include the nation's 170 million cellular phone users has been endorsed by the U.S. Chapter of the Cellular Emergency Alert Services Association (CEASA).

The CellAlert EAS-2 Interface Decoder jointly developed by Multi-Technical Services, based in Clayton, N.C. and Cell Broadcast Technologies, based in Cardiff, UK, allows cellular provider networks with cell-broadcast messaging capability, to instantly send EAS emergency information to subscribers in, or entering, a designated warning location.

The decoder will operate similarly to the encoder-decoder devices currently required by the Federal Communication Commission rules for all cable, television and radio station license holders, and will be compatible with the FCC Part 11 rules.

Under the CEASA CellAlert(SM) certification criteria, emergency events defined by the EAS program, ranging from missing children to weather and terrorist threats, are broadcast as a public service by CellAlert participating mobile networks as priority text message to their subscribers in "at-risk" locations. Only the cellular devices currently operating in threatened location receive warnings.

The first U.S. cellular networks will begin providing CellAlert- EAS2 emergency messaging services by the end of the year, with carriers in 17 midwest and southern states expected to begin the free service by the beginning of severe weather season in March 2005.

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