You've probably heard that "Emergency Broadcast System" alert on your radio and TV that is a national system used to inform the public of emergency events. Well the FCC is rolling out the "Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) that will send geographically targeted text messages to cellphones in areas where danger threatens. This system is scheduled to be in place by April 2012. I'm including a link to the report in USA Today but there are a few key things you need to know.
- Four providers will have the service prior to April 2010 (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon)
- Some cellphones like iPhones and some Android devices already have the circuitry required to receive the PLAN alerts though a software update may be required for full compliance
- The FCC website will have a list of participating carriers but you will need to confirm that your provider has the service
- Consumers are automatically signed up for the alerts and you can opt out if you choose.