PSHSB Issues WEA Test Waiver to Participating CMS Providers

On August 30, 2022, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (“Bureau”) released an Order announcing that it was waiving the Commission’s rules to allow participating Commercial Mobile Service (“CMS”) Providers to participate in a planned end-to-end Wireless Emergency Alert (“WEA”) test initiative. The Bureau intends conduct a test with 42 WEA alert originators, using the “Public Safety Message” alert category and transmit that test to members of the public with WEA-capable devices who have not opted out from receiving WEA messages in geographically targeted areas across the United States.

The Commission’s rules limit WEA tests to the “State/Local WEA Test” category. The waiver allows the Test Participants and the Bureau to conduct a test that more closely mirrors real world alert circumstances and obtain data on (1) the proportion of the public that receives WEA messages; (2) how quickly customers receive WEA messages; and (3) the proportion of WEA recipients that receive the alert while located outside of the targeted geographic area. The Bureau conditions this waiver on Test Participants taking all appropriate steps to promote public awareness of, and participation in, these tests, including coordination with relevant state and local emergency authorities and first responder organizations such as Public Safety Answering Points, police, and fire agencies.

The tests are scheduled to occur on throughout the day on September 12 and September 13 in various regions, as detailed in the Appendix to the Order, with alternative test dates on September 19 and September 20. Chairwoman Rosenworcel has also released a Press Release with additional information on the test and WEA in general.

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