Telecom Commission Letter Addressed to Distribution List
3 October 2018
RE: Requirement that Wireless Service Providers distribute additional visible wireless test alerts
Dear Sir / Madam,
As set out in this letter, the Commission hereby establishes regulatory measures requiring Wireless Service Providers (WSPs) to distribute subsequent visible wireless test alerts as part of their participation in the National Public Alerting System (NPAS).
The Commission recognizes that wireless alerting is a significant component of the national alerting system in terms of its effectiveness in protecting Canadians. The Commission therefore considers that requiring WSPs to distribute additional visible wireless test alerts is appropriate and necessary to help ensure that WSPs are aware of any outstanding issues and to ensure that Wireless Public Alerting (WPA) serves its intended purposes as a public safety tool.
In Telecom Decision CRTC 2018-108, CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee – Consensus reports on a proposed wireless public alerting test alert schedule and methodology, the Commission approved a proposed WPA test schedule of five tests per year, one of which would be visible to end-users during Emergency Preparedness Week (EPW).
The dissemination and distribution of province-wide visible wireless test alerts issued during the 2018 EPW did not achieve full success, in light of reported issues in the consistency of tests. Accordingly, Pelmorex, the current operator of the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination (NAAD) System, and WSPs were requested to provide information with respect to the issues encountered during EPW 2018. These responses can be found on the Commission’s website.
Based on its analysis of the information filed, the Commission is of the view that the underlying objectives of the WPA testing, which consists of ensuring end-to-end WPA functionality and to create WPA awareness, were not fully realised.
Furthermore, the Commission received a letter from Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management (SOREM) dated 14 September 2018, which includes Public Safety Canada and provincial and territorial Emergency Management Organisations (EMOs). This letter indicated that, overall, federal, provincial and territorial SOREM recognize the value of a second, all-channel (wireless and broadcast) public awareness test message in November 2018 and would support such a second test. The above referenced letter can also be found on the Commission’s website.
Accordingly, pursuant to sections 24 and 24.1 of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission directs:
- all WSPs that are currently required to participate in WPA as part of the NPAS to immediately distribute wireless emergency test alerts issued by an emergency management organisation and received from the NAAD System operator prior to EPW 2019, should an EMO elect to issue a visible wireless test alert;
- all WSPs operating in a province where an EMO elects to issue a visible wireless test alert prior to EPW 2019to notify their subscribers residing in that province of the possible reception of one or more visible wireless test alerts.
The notification to subscribers by WSPs shall contain information in regards to device compatibility in a manner such that subscribers will be aware that not all devices are capable of receiving emergency wireless test alerts and actual emergency alerts. Furthermore, the Commission expects that the roll-out of such notifications be issued at least 30 days before the scheduled visible test message, when possible.
In addition, the Commission requests that Pelmorex update its Alert Ready website with any relevant information relating to the issuance and distribution of all subsequent visible wireless test alerts.
The Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of WPA, including the dissemination and distribution of wireless test alerts. The Commission may take further regulatory action should WPA-related issues arise in the future.
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