CTIA: Carriers Waiting on FEMA to Test WEA Upgrades

Wireless carriers have taken the needed steps to deploy wireless emergency alert (WEA) upgrades required by a May 1 FCC deadline, but they can’t do so until the Federal Emergency Management Agency facilitates the necessary testing, CTIA told the FCC yesterday in an ex parte filing in PS dockets 15-91 and 15-94.

“Per the Commission’s rules, by May 1, 2019, participating commercial mobile service providers (CMSPs) are required to support (1) 360-character WEA messages, (2) Spanish-language WEA messages, (3) Public Safety WEA messages, (4) Alert Message prioritization, and (5) consumer opt-in capabilities for receiving State/Local WEA test messages (collectively WEA 2.0). CTIA respectfully submits this letter to update the Commission that participating CMSP member companies have taken the necessary steps to meet the May 1, 2019 deadline, but cannot deploy the new WEA 2.0 capabilities until Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) has the capability in place to support and complete its required testing for these new features,” CTIA said in its filing.

“Participating CMSPs and handset manufacturers have taken the steps within their control to support WEA 2.0 features by the May 1, 2019 deadline, including updating the relevant standards, implementing WEA 2.0 capabilities into their networks and deploying WEA-capable wireless handsets utilizing both Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS that support WEA 2.0,” CTIA added. “However, CTIA has recently confirmed that FEMA’s IPAWS gateway will not be ready to test WEA 2.0 by May 1, 2019. Once FEMA’s IPAWS gateway is capable of testing WEA 2.0, CTIA’s participating member companies are ready to test as soon as practicable and deploy the capability in coordination with FEMA. In the meantime, the Commission and FEMA should coordinate efforts to inform federal, state and local alert originators about the status of WEA 2.0 enhancements and effective utilization of WEA’s existing capabilities, including geotargeting and embedded links.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily