AT&T* CEO Randall Stephenson today affirmed the company’s commitment to support the Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) at an event hosted by the FCC and the City of New York. PLAN allows emergency services organizations to send automatic, free alerts to wireless subscribers to warn them of emergency situations, such as a weather event or a missing child, in their area.
AT&T will make PLAN available to its customers with compatible handsets in New York City and Washington, D.C., this year. In addition, AT&T expects to certify at least one PLAN-enabled device on its network by the end of the year.
“AT&T is proud to support this program, and we salute the leadership of the FCC and Congress in making it a reality,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman and chief executive officer. “These alerts will add to the important work of first responders in communities across the nation, and we are honored to join with others in the industry – equipment makers, device manufacturers and wireless carriers – who are working together to get PLAN implemented.”
PLAN will be used by AT&T and other wireless operators to broadcast emergency alerts to large numbers of cell phones simultaneously, similar to the way emergency alerts are transmitted over radio and television today.
Three categories of alerts have been defined: alerts from the President; alerts for events that could result in imminent threat to life or property; and alerts for missing children (“Amber Alerts”). PLAN alerts will be geotargeted by county, meaning that alerts will be immediately relevant for their recipients. All messages will be collected and distributed by FEMA as a single interface with emergency response groups.
AT&T is committed to working with network equipment and wireless device vendors to continue deploying PLAN and compatible devices throughout 2012 and beyond. The company is proud to continue to work in conjunction with the FCC and FEMA to support this important effort.