LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Canada makes cell broadcasting mandatory on wireless networks

We at LIRNEasia have been promoting cell broadcasting for a long time. It is immune to congestion, message over it can be specific to location; and it does not require prior registration of numbers. It has thousands of “channels” and can therefore handle multiple languages, including those of tourists who are visiting.

Therefore, we are very happy that Canada, which has supported our disaster risk reduction research is the latest country to get behind cell broadcasting:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today directed all wireless service providers to implement a wireless public alerting system on their LTE (long-term evolution) networks by April, 2018.

This 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 over 97% of Canadians.

Service providers have also been tasked by the CRTC to work with their federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to develop an awareness campaign and test schedule.

This is a great first step. But for the full potential of cell broadcasting to be realized, more work has to be done on standards that are implemented at the international level. We hope Canada will take the lead on that.

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