The UK government has arranged a series of mobile alert tests to make sure members of the public can receive information in an emergency. It’s running trials in North Yorkshire, Glasgow and Suffolk with EE, O2 and Vodafone.
Two different technologies are being tested: location-based SMS text messaging and cell broadcast messages. Both can send messages to all mobile phones within a specific area.
The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said “I want to reassure the public that these tests are not linked to any threat or specific hazard in their area. We have included diverse areas - both rural and urban – as part of our tests, as we want to look at how effective the different systems are in different areas in using mobile phones to deliver mass messaging. We are also looking for help from the public in evaluating how well the tests worked and how they felt about receiving messages in this way and we would welcome the public’s views which they can provide via an online survey or a series of focus groups.”
A total of approximately 50,000 people may receive the test messages across the three areas.
The Civil Contingencies Secretariat will offer its recommendations in a report that’s expected to be published in early 2014.
[Government guidance document]