Public Safety .
CTIA and our members work with policymakers and public safety organizations to ensure wireless technologies are used effectively and prudently to keep Americans safe.
We focus on three main areas: Wireless Emergency Alerts, 9-1-1 Location Accuracy, and Network Resiliency.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
The Wireless Emergency Alert program is the newest and most effective tool in our nation’s emergency alerting system. WEA’s ability to deliver messages to all consumers with capable mobile devices in a targeted area make them a key tool for reaching Americans in an emergency.
A WEA is a message with important information about an emergency from an authorized public safety official, including: what is happening, who is affected, and what action to take. Local, state, and federal public safety officials determine what the message says and area where the WEA is sent.
People with WEA-capable devices in the targeted area can receive these messages unless they choose to opt out. Wireless devices manufactured after 2012 likely support WEA.
The WEA system is part of our national alert system, which includes alert originators, FEMA, wireless providers, and device manufacturers. Maintaining public confidence in the WEA system should be the highest priority of all stakeholders.
For this reason, CTIA believes that:
- WEA’s should be used effectively and prudently by the public safety community through best practices, training, and technologies.
- The WEA program should evolve consistent with available technologies that ensure WEA messages can be sent rapidly and received by Americans.
9-1-1 Location Accuracy
Dialing 9-1-1 is the most important call you may make. Wireless has made it possible to make that call from wherever there is an emergency.
For decades now, we’ve leveraged new technologies to make it easier and faster for first responders to find you. Lives have been saved and crises averted, thanks to these efforts. That work has only become more important as many people cut the cord and go wireless-only.
The ability to pinpoint a caller’s exact location can be more challenging in certain situations—for instance, if the caller is in a multi-story building where a floor, office suite, or apartment number may be needed to effectively send help. That’s why, working in collaboration with public safety organizations, the wireless industry has undertaken two innovative initiatives to enhance 9-1-1 location accuracy:
- The National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) will help 9-1-1 operators locate wireless callers more quickly and accurately indoors with important address data from commercially-deployed Wi-Fi Access Points and Bluetooth Beacons.
- The 9-1-1 Location Technologies Test Bed is a testing environment for new technologies that may improve indoor 9-1-1 location accuracy, including innovations to determine a caller’s vertical location (for instance, the sixth floor of a building).
The wireless industry is committed to enhancing 9-1-1 location accuracy capabilities and has dedicated resources to making the NEAD and Test Bed successful tools to help us do so. Policymakers can help by continuing to support the wireless industry as we build and implement these tools and the new solutions they will foster.
States and localities can also help by ensuring their emergency call centers take advantage of technologies and practices that can quickly and effectively use caller location information from wireless providers.
Wireless serves as a key lifeline during storms, natural disasters, and other emergencies. Providing that lifeline is the industry’s goal every day.
Wireless networks have been tested by emergencies, and providers have committed significant resources to incorporate lessons learned into our preparation and response plans. We have worked—and continue to work—closely with the FCC and other federal, state, and local officials to ensure our networks are strong and resilient.
The industry continues to develop and implement information sharing, disaster preparation, and recovery initiatives—like the Wireless Resiliency Framework—to help us sustain wireless communications during and after disasters. The framework is a voluntary industry initiative that enables wireless networks to be more prepared when disaster strikes and get back online faster.
Disasters and emergencies can impact communities—and wireless networks and services—in vastly different ways. That’s why policymakers should also provide wireless providers the flexibility to tailor network resiliency and continuity of service plans to the unique needs of individual localities.
State and local governments should incorporate best practices—developed by CTIA in collaboration with state and local public safety officials—for their jurisdictions to use in emergencies.
Denser wireless networks—with hundreds of thousands of small cells—will also make networks more resilient. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local level can help by modernizing infrastructure siting rules and processes for next-generation network infrastructure like small cells.