CTIA to FCC: Rethink WEA Deadline to Avoid Network Congestion

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UPDATE  Leading wireless association CTIA asked the FCC to rethink some of its planned revisions to modernize wireless emergency alerts. Concerned about network congestion, the trade group recommends the Commission not mandate that things like “clickable” links or phone numbers be embedded in alert messages until carriers are sure of the feasibility of the changes.

The FCC passed WEA updates in September, Inside Towers reported.

In a Petition for Reconsideration, CTIA asks the Commission to defer mandating embedded elements in a WEA message until after testing and standards efforts are completed and “clickable” links are defined. The wireless lobby also wants the FCC to make it clear the embedded elements need only to be supported by new, and not legacy, devices.  

The order mandates participating Commercial Mobile Service providers support the transmission of embedded Uniform Resource Locators and phone numbers in WEA alerts on November 1, 2017. CMS providers can test embedded elements in a sample of their network or subscriber base.  

But CTIA says that defeats the purpose of testing. “The new requirements create implementation challenges for wireless networks, mobile devices and websites that will be the target of embedded URLs, threatening the reliability of each for all consumers,” writes CTIA in comments filed with the agency. “The current compliance deadline is unsupported in the record, making it arbitrary and capricious.”

Testing may point out the need to limit file sizes in order to prevent network congestion says CTIA. “Legacy wireless networks have significantly less aggregate bandwidth than LTE networks, limiting the ability for these systems to effectively manage large scale, simultaneous data access for embedded references.”    

December 6, 2016

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