New York City Announces Launch of Cell Broadcast Alerting System

The heads of FEMA, the FCC, and the City of New York have announced the launch of cell broadcast alerting in New York City. It’s basically what many of us know as the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). The name unveiled in the announcement is PLAN, the Personal Localized Alerting Network. It will provide alerts to mobile devices within a targeted geographic area that have been equipped to receive alerts for imminent threats, Amber Alerts, and Presidential messages. There will be no charge to citizens, and they don’t have to sign up.

The all-star cast said the service will be available in New York City by late this year, six months before the deadline for participating cell companies to start shipping devices equipped to receive cell broadcast alerts nationwide. Most of the major carriers have said they will participate in what’s been known as CMAS. Executives from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon stood alongside FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to announce the launch of PLAN.

This doesn’t mean that magically all mobile devices in New York City will be capable of receiving the alerts. But, customers buying new mobile devices in the coming months will be able to receive the alerts. It will take some time for the devices to change out.

FEMA hasn’t announced what other communities will need to do to get involved with IPAWS. However, per our recent post here, IPAWS has started announcing the names of the vendors and other organizations who are working towards being able to offer IPAWS activations, including PLAN/CMAS alerts, through their systems. The IPAWS list includes over 40 commercial organizations and over ten non-commercial entities.

Cell broadcast pilots are underway in Florida and California per our earlier post….although the City of New York has certainly won the PR splash, getting major coverage with the Fugate/Genachowski/Bloomberg announcement.

Who will be next?

All the best,



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