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Maldives cell broadcasting research showcased in World Disasters Report 2009

CB [cell broadcasting] is an intrinsic feature of GSM, UMTS and IS 95 CDMA networks, and is thus available in the two Maldivian networks. But it must be activated. Most handsets are capable of receiving CB messages but the feature must be turned on. However, in the early stages, getting customers to turn on the feature could be an effective way of educating them of mobile-based public warning.

Following stakeholder meetings that included sharing of information on the ongoing CB channel-standardization work of Study Group 2 of the Telecommunication Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T) and experience in attempting to use CB for public warning in Sri Lanka, the recommendations to TAM are being finalized. They include the constitution of a “trust protocol board” to develop the terms of access to the CB broker server to ensure security and the conduct of live demonstrations on a test channel that will not be seen by the public. The latter is likely to bring up technical issues that require resolution before full-scale implementation.

Above is a quotation from a box on pp. 29-30 of the 2009 World Disasters Report, published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, titled “Focus on early warning, early action.” The box, written by Rohan Samarajiva, addresses one of the most difficult problems of public warning, that of ensuring that warnings reach not only the citizens but tourists, which, at peak amount to 1/5th of the population of the Maldives.

The work was carried out at the request of the Communications Authority of the Maldives under our ongoing Mobile 2.0 research program. It is expected that the report, prepared by Natasha Udu-gama, will be released next month.

The IFRC report quotes extensively from LIRNEasia research and publications, in addition to the inclusion of the box.

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