WEA Updates Available 12/13/19

Length, Language, Issuer/Category , and Location Enhancements

November 25, 2019 Over the years, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) has periodically taken important measures to promote the effectiveness of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and to make such messages more accessible. In September 2016, the Commission adopted rules that would require Participating Commercial Mobile Service (CMS) Providers to support, by May 1, 2019, longer WEA Alert Messages (from 90 to 360 characters) for 4G LTE and future networks; a new class of Alert Message (“Public Safety Messages”) to convey recommended actions for saving lives or property (e.g., emergency shelter locations after a disaster); Spanish-language Alert Messages; a new category of Alert Messages (“State/Local WEA Tests”) to promote alert originator proficiency and public awareness; and the presentation of WEA Alert Messages on the mobile device as soon as they are received.1


In January 2018, the Commission adopted an enhanced geotargeting requirement that would require Participating CMS Providers to support, by November 30, 2019, the precise delivery of WEA Alert Messages to 100 percent of the target area specified by an alert originator, with no more than a one-tenth of a mile overshoot, for both new mobile devices offered for sale and existing devices capable of being upgraded to support this standard. These implementation timeframes took into account that providers must complete extensive testing before rolling out these upgrades.

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