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Commercial Mobile Alert System Data Collection Extended into 2015

To ensure that the system operates efficiently and effectively, participating providers are required to distribute test messages and log the results

To ensure the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS)—the network designed to disseminate emergency alerts to mobile devices such as cell phones—is operating effectively, the U.S. government re-approved for three years the information collection requirements associated with that program.

On July 13, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission post a Federal Register notice—Commercial Mobile Alert System—that says, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved, for three years, the CMAS’ information collection requirements.

CMAS enables federal agencies to accept and aggregate alerts from the president, the National Weather Service and emergency operations centers, and send the alerts to participating wireless providers who may distribute the messages to their customers via text messages. The government plans to issue three types of alerts through the system; they are alerts issued by the president, those involving imminent threats to safety and life and Amber Alerts.

The OMB approved the current rule governing CMAS information collection on July 22, 2009, and it is effective until July 31, 2012. The new rule became effective on July 13, 2012, and is effective until June 30, 2015, according to the FCC.

As required by the Warning, Alert and Response Network Act (P.L. 109-347), the FCC adopted final rules to establish the CMAS, under which commercial mobile service (CMS) providers may elect to transmit emergency alerts to the public, the notice says.

 To ensure that the CMAS operates efficiently and effectively, the FCC requires participating CMS providers to receive monthly test messages that are distributed to their CMAS coverage areas to test their infrastructure and delivery systems, according to the notice. CMS providers are to acknowledge receipt of those test messages, and to log the results, the document says.