ATIS Raises Concerns with WEA Proposals

The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions and its members have raised concerns with some wireless emergency alert (WEA) upgrade proposals being considered by the FCC.

In an ex parte filing in PS docket 15-91 reporting on a phone conversation with members of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, ATIS said that its Wireless Technologies and Systems Committee “noted its concerns with the feasibility of the Commission’s proposed geo-targeting accuracy standard, which would require 100% of the targeted devices within the specified alert area to receive the alert with no more than 0.10-mile overshoot. ATIS does not believe that this standard is achievable based on existing cell site technology. Another technical issue that may prevent compliance with this standard is [the] fact that there in is no way to absolutely know a device’s location in all circumstances. For instance, the device’s location functionality may be turned off and, even if it is turned on, the location may not be accurate.

“ATIS further noted that network congestion issues may arise if devices don’t have a current location or if the location is dated/aged and must be updated,” the filing added. “It was also noted that there are battery and privacy-related issues associated with the Commission’s proposed standard. While ATIS agreed with the Commission that applying any mandated accuracy standards only to devices with location services enabled could address some technical issues, this proposal would not be 100% effective as there are many variables that may impact a device’s ability to determine its location.

“The Commission also asked about the capabilities to address multilingual WEA messages. ATIS noted that there are concerns with ensuring that the messages are accurately translated; this is particularly important if the devices are translating WEA messages into other languages. There may also be technical challenges depending on the number of languages that would need to be supported,” the filing continued.

“Finally, the issue of alert caching was discussed. The Commission asked for input on a proposed approach that would require devices to cache WEA messages so that customers who have opted out of receiving these messages would be able to view past messages in some manner. ATIS noted that it would need to study this issue further,” ATIS said in the filing. “ATIS noted it continues to study geotargeting and other issues addressed during the meeting and will update the Commission on this work when it has further progressed.”

Last year, the FCC adopted a report and order requiring additional WEA capabilities, while considering further upgrades in a further notice of proposed rulemaking (TR Daily, Sept. 29, 2016). —Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily