Canadian Regulator Directs Carriers to Implement Public Alerting on LTE Networks
Thursday, April 06, 2017 | Comments

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) directed all wireless service providers to implement a wireless public alerting system on their Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks by April 2018.

The system will allow emergency management officials, such as fire marshals and police agencies, to warn Canadians on their mobile devices of dangers to life and property. The alerts will be sent to mobile devices connected to LTE networks, which are available to more than 97 percent of Canadians.

CRTC also tasked service providers to work with their federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to develop an awareness campaign and test schedule.

Emergency alert messages are issued by federal, provincial and territorial governments and emergency management officials to warn the public of imminent threats, such as fires, tornadoes, floods, water contamination and Amber Alerts. Once the system is in place, an even greater number of Canadians will be notified in a timely manner of imminent or unfolding dangers through alerts sent via mobile networks, a statement said.

Defence Research and Development Canada's Centre for Security Science, through the Canadian Safety and Security Program, initiated a pilot project between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2016, in the Durham region of Ontario to build, test and operate an effective wireless public alerting service.

The CRTC's Interconnection Steering Committee Network Technology Working Group must report back to the commission with a progress report detailing a proposed awareness campaign and test schedule by July 5 and a final report by Oct. 3. The exact launch date for the distribution of alerts will be announced once the wireless industry has met the applicable standards and all required functionalities are in place.

The wireless public alerting standard adopted by Canada has been adopted by governments across the world for emergency alerts services, including the European Union, the United States, Israel, Chile and Japan.

Public Safety Canada is the lead department responsible for emergency management and coordinates the development of policies for public alerting with federal, provincial and territorial stakeholders. The CRTC's regulatory action followed a public consultation initiated in 2016.

"The commission is working with the wireless industry and our partners in federal, provincial and territorial governments to provide Canadians with a reliable and efficient wireless public alerting system as soon as possible,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC chairman and CEO. “The National Public Alerting System is vital to Canadians, it has saved countless lives, including those of children through Amber Alerts. Once the system is in place, an even greater number of Canadians will receive alerts on their mobile phones and will be able to take appropriate safety measures."

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