WEA Testing Could Occur in 2019
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), which are messages transmitted on cell phones, may be included in a nationwide test in 2019, FEMA/IPAWS confirms to Inside Towers. WEA enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas through cell towers that broadcast the emergency alerts for reception by WEA-enabled mobile devices.
WEA launched in April 2012, and the FCC updated its WEA rules in September 2016, helping to ensure messages only reach people they’re intended for and establishing a WEA testing program. Updates included increasing the message length from 90 to 360 characters, embedding phone numbers and URLs in the text message and requiring participating carriers to support transmission of Spanish-language text messages. All three improvements are supposed to be implemented by carriers and their handset makers beginning this November.