Commercial Mobile Service Providers |

Commercial Mobile Service Providers (CMSPs) allow authorized message senders to send public safety alerts and warnings to mobile phones via IPAWS). A participating wireless service provider may request FEMA to connect to the IPAWS to send Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) to its subscribers.

Wireless Emergency Alerts

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system provides critical warnings and public safety information to the public on mobile devices. Wireless service provider participation is voluntary, but most providers support WEAs. Participating vendors meet the technical and operational requirements established by the FCC.

Authorized Alerting Authorities send WEAs via IPAWS to participating wireless service providers, who then broadcast cell tower alerts to mobile devices in affected areas.

Specific features applicable to WEAs include:

  • Supports up to 360 characters
  • Supports English and Spanish languages
  • Supports URLs and phone numbers
  • Rebroadcast of WEA for the duration of the alert
  • Ability to update and/or cancel an active WEA
  • Unique tone and vibration
  • Geo-targeted fence alert capabilities with less than a tenth of a mile overshoot

WEAs use SMS-Cell Broadcast (SMS-CB), a one-to-many service that simultaneously transmits messages to multiple recipients within a specified area. By using SMS-CB, WEAs avoid the congestion problems experienced by traditional voice and text messaging (point-to-point SMS) alerting services, resulting in faster and more complete delivery of messages in the event of an emergency. ’emergency.

Wireless service providers must comply with the technical and operational requirements set out in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Part 10. Rules for wireless emergency alerts, including participation procedures, infrastructure requirements, and message elements are all found in Part 10.

How to make a request to send wireless emergency alerts

IPAWS uses a standardized process to ensure that all voluntarily participating commercial mobile service providers are properly licensed and vetted in accordance with FCC regulations.

The following information is for CMSPs interested in or currently participating in WEA and IPAWS.

Step #1 – Select a WEA Compatible Solution

The Alliance for Telecom Industry Solutions published the standards that define the interface between the Federal Alert Gateway, or IPAWS, and the CMSP gateway for WEA alerts. The applicable standards are known as “J-STD-101” and “J-STD-102”.

Step #2 – Request a Memorandum of Understanding / Interconnectivity Security Agreement from FEMA for testing

CMSPs must request the required Memorandum of Understanding (MOA)/Interconnection Security Agreement (ISA) documents governing connectivity and system security related to the test system from FEMA, and must be signed between the PMSC/service provider, FEMA and Department of Homeland Security. Each MOA/ISA is specifically tailored to the sponsoring organization. MOA/ISA test environment materials are available by emailing [email protected]

Upon receipt of the signed MOA/ISA documents from the CMSP, the documents are routed for signature through the FEMA IPAWS office, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, and DHS, in that order. Once the signing process is complete, fully executed copies are provided to the CMSP so that testing can begin.

Step #3 – MOA / ISA request for production

The CMSP must request the required MOA/ISA documents governing system connectivity and security related to the production (live) system from FEMA and they must be executed as in Step 2 above. Production Environment MOA/ISA materials are available by emailing [email protected]

Upon receipt of the signed MOA/ISA documents from the CMSP, the documents are routed for signature as in step 2 above. Once the signing process is complete, fully signed copies are provided to the CMSP so that production can begin.

NOTE: MOA/ISA production and test materials can be requested and processed at the same time.

Step #4 – CMSP and IPAWS Test

The CMSP should test their solution with IPAWS, ensuring that the CMSP/service provider solution is compatible with IPAWS-OPEN.

Tests are usually scheduled to take place in blocks over several days and can usually be completed in less than two weeks. When completed, a test report is generated and provided to the CMSP and IPAWS office.

Step #5 – Implement CMSP/IPAWS Production Connectivity

The WEA Coordinator in the IPAWS office ensures that the appropriate test and production MOA/ISAs are fully executed, testing is complete, and connectivity engineering design is completed and approved.

Once everything is in order, the implementation is planned with the CMSP office, DHS and FEMA IPAWS. Implementation typically takes four to six hours. When completed, the CMSP is considered operational and will be able to receive messages from alerting authorities for distribution to CMSP subscribers.

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