FCC Looks at Strengthening Emergency Alerts Through Performance Reporting
Thursday, April 21, 2022 | Comments

The FCC proposed strengthening the effectiveness of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), including through public reporting on the reliability, speed and accuracy of these messages.

Since the program’s launch one decade ago, WEAs have become an essential part of America’s emergency preparedness. The system has been used more than 62,000 times to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children and other critical situations through alerts on compatible mobile devices. Despite these successes, there is still room for improvement, and to date there has been no formal mechanism for the commission to collect reliable and consistent data about the system’s performance. In a further notice of proposed rulemaking adopted at its April 21 meeting, the commission proposed that wireless providers that participate in WEAs publicly report on key aspects of the performance of this service.

In particular, the commission is seeking comment on:
• How the reliability, speed, and accuracy of WEA should be defined and whether these are the most pertinent performance measures for the service
• How participating wireless providers should measure the performance of WEAs for the purpose of generating performance reports;
• When and how these performance reports should be provided to the commission; and
• Whether and how these performance reports should include information collected at the consumer’s device.

The commission noted that providing emergency management agencies and the public with visibility into the performance of WEAs in their communities will help promote the use and improvement of the life-saving tool. The commission is also seeking comment on ways to further improve the reliability and speed of WEAs based on findings from the 2021 nationwide WEA test.

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