April 20, 2005
 



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Posted: 10.01.04
A Cellular Emergency
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Your phone rings, you answer it and hear a familiar high-pitched continuous beep, followed by a electronic voice:This is a test of the cellular emergency alert system. This is only a test.  

By Teresa von Fuchs




According to a recent announcement by Airadigm Communications a Little Chute, Wis.-based GSM provider whose network services are marketed under the name Einstein PCS, this scenario could be plausible in the near future. Airadigm just recently finished demonstrating a pilot of this program over its existing wireless network in Appleton, Wis.

The advantage of a cell phone-based system is that alerts can be sent based on geographical location. Airadigm’s system uses a text messaging system to issue warnings. Unlike voice messages, the emergency alert system uses a broadcast control channel instead of a voice channel to avoid system overload when multiple messages are sent simultaneously.

The U.S. Cellular Emergency Alert Services Association (CEASA) certified the demonstration as compliant with its standards. D.D. Weiser from CEASA said, “This is a tremendous advance in public safety.” CEASA is part of a coalition of public safety broadcast associations active in 11 countries.

According to Airadigm, discussions are taking place in the federal government about ways to improve the nation’s emergency warning system, including the use of cell phones. With this demonstration, Airadigm hopes to prove its technologies a viable addition to the system.







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