November 14, 2017

WELL, GOOD: Inside the Decades-Long Fight for Better Emergency Alerts.

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the commission would move forward with an Obama-era order calling for wireless carriers to pinpoint emergency alerts down to the cellular tower level. Until recently, these alerts have targeted entire counties, an area so vast that, typically, people either receive alerts that are irrelevant to them, or emergency managers forgo alerts altogether—with potentially disastrous consequences. The alerts will also include embeddable links that can redirect people to additional information.

For public safety and communications experts, including Wheeler, these upgrades represent a crucial step in a multiyear battle with the cell phone industry.

“It is great the FCC has announced they’re going to do something,” Wheeler says. “Too bad it took tragedies to get that to happen.”

It usually does.