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FEMA and FCC Adopt Mobile Wireless EAS Standards

WASHINGTON: Two federal agencies have established a mobile communications emergency public warning technology standard. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission announced the adoption of design specifications for a gateway interface enabling wireless carriers to provide emergency alerts via cell phones and mobile devices.

The intended Commercial Mobile Alert System--CMAS--project, part of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, intends to provide the President of the United States a means by which to notify Americans of national emergencies. The system would also be available for Amber alerts and regional warnings in the form of 90-character text messages.

Today’s announcement also marks the beginning of the 28-month period, mandated by the FCC in August 2008, for commercial mobile service providers who have elected to participate in the CMAS design specs to develop, test and deploy the system and deliver mobile alerts to the public by 2012. Wireless carriers participating in the CMAS will relay authorized text-based alerts to subscribers, and vibration-cadence and/or audio signals for people with disabilities.