The WARN Act and WEA
Title VI of PL 109-347 (Oct. 13, 2006) is titled the Warning Alert and Response Network Act, sometimes called the WARN Act. The WARN Act, in 47 U.S.C. § 1201, gives the FCC the authority to adopt standards for cell phone companies to transmit emergency alerts. Participation by cell phone companies is voluntary — they don’t have to participate — but if they do, the law states that cell phone companies may not impose an additional charge for such alerts. 47 U.S.C. § 1201(b)(2)(C).
Pursuant to the WARN Act, the FCC worked with FEMA to create a program called Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The system was based on the existing Emergency Alert System (EAS), which are the warnings that you get on a television and radio when there is a weather or other emergency.
Alerts are sent to cell towers providing wireless service to a target geographical area, and then all WEA-capable phones using those cell towers receive the alert. Thus, you will receive an alert if you are in a targeted area even if you are just visiting that area.
(Sorry-only 4s and newer)
- Why did I receive that loud severe weather warning on my phone?(myfox8.com)
- New Wireless Alert System Warns of Emergencies (wsaz.com)
- Cell phone users unaware of new emergency alert system (fox6now.com)
- Wireless Emergency Alerts Coming to ATT iPhone Customers(geardiary.com)
- AT&T now pushing iPhone update to add Wireless Emergency Alert(electronista.com)
- AT&T Announces Wireless Emergency Alerts for iPhone 5, 4S Users(iClarified.com)