The Emergency Broadcast System was for decades the way in which we were notified of emergencies via the television and radio. (Or more likely, the way in which we were notified of a "test of the Emergency Broadcast System.") But undoubtedly we are turning to other real-time technologies to inform us when there are national, state, and local crises.
The Urgent Communications Journal reported today that Alcatel-Lucent has made commercially available its broadcast message center that's designed to help bring these alerts to people's cellphones in order to comply with Federal Communication Commission's Commercial Mobile Alert System.
With this new system, service providers will be able to send targeted government agency texts to alert mobile users in a specific area. While everyone will have to receive presidential alerts (something that's never been issued in the almost 50 years of the program's existence), people will be able to opt out of messages about imminent threats and Amber alerts.
"With the public increasingly relying on cell phones, it becomes mission critical for service providers to be able to share critical, time-sensitive information over these devices during times of crisis," Alcatel-Lucent's vice president Morgan Wright told MSNBC.
The program is being tested in California and Florida and should be ready in time to comply with the new FCC guidelines by April 2012.