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Subject: [IP] more on for Californians AB 2231 Emergency alerts

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To:
  • Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2006 16:24:50 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: March 31, 2006 4:14:47 PM EST
Cc: Paul Saffo <>
Subject: RE: [IP] for Californians AB 2231 Emergency alerts

Are the messages sent to the phones based on where they are or the bill
Can anyone explain how sending the alerts cost them money? If they don't
understand the difference between what they charge customers and their
non-costs then we should worry about their ability to run a company.
Getting out emergency messages may be the least of their problems. Those
who accept that argument shouldn't be in the position to set policy.
That said, the real solution is to provide connectivity and make it easy
for the devices to get messages based on alert criteria such as being in
the path of a tornado (as determined by GPS and/or the proximate access

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber []
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006 06:09
Subject: [IP] for californians AB 2231 Emergency alerts

Begin forwarded message:

From: Paul Saffo <>
Date: March 31, 2006 12:19:57 AM EST
To: Dave Farber <>
Subject: (For IP) AB 2231 Emergency alerts

I am writing this on behalf of Tamara Odisho
( ), a Legislative Aide to Assemblymember
Fran Pavley. Pavley has introduced a bill (
bill/asm/ab_2201-2250/ab_2231_bill_20060222_introduced.html ) to the
California Legislature, proposing that cell providers be required to
provide customers with text alerts in the event of a severe emergency
such as a flood or wildfire.

It turns out that the cellular companies oppose the bill and are
likely to lobby against it. The stated reasons for opposition are:
1- This should be left to the FCC to implement a plan at the national
level.  (Ha! If California had followed this logic, we would never
have forced the auto industry to clean up its emissions act!)
2- Requiring the cell phone companies to send out state-wide
emergency text-messages would jam the system, and therefore not reach
all their customers
3- The cell cos don't want to pay the cost of sending out the messages.

Tamara and her colleagues have several  questions, and would love
feedback from anyone who might have advice/suggestions.  Here are her
questions (note that I have not edited them as I am merely a conduit):
1.     Can wireless companies' infrastructure handle such a statewide
text-message emergency alert? In other words, will this jam up the

2.     Do wireless providers have the technology to area specify the
emergency alerts, ie, if there's an earthquake in Los Angeles, would
wireless providers be able to only send out the text message to Los
Angeles residents?

3.     Are technological capabilities available to broadcast the text
message to a certain area/region and send the message to providers
not registered in that area code, ie Thailand tsunami had vacationers
from all over the world, if an emergency alert was sent out, would
all vacationers be able to receive the message?

  4.     If a wireless company sends out the alert, would they be
limited to a specific number of characters?

  5.     If necessary, would text message be able to be delivered in
multiple languages?
  6.     Do you have an estimated cost to the providers of what this
type of implementation system would cost the providers?

Anyone who has suggestions should feel free to contact Tamara
directly at , or if you prefer, email me and
I will pass your comments on.


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