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AT&T Affirms Commitment to Support Personal Localized Alert Network (PLAN)

May 13, 2011

AT&T, a premier communications holding company, announced its support for the Personal Localized Alert Network (PLAN).

According to official release, the Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) is a new public safety system that allows customers who own an enabled mobile device to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. This new technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested user areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services. PLAN enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas through cell towers which pushes the information to dedicated receivers in PLAN-enabled mobile devices.

In New York City, AT&T plans to introduce PLAN technology to its customers and is also going to certify at least one PLAN enabled device on its network by the end of this year. The company asserted that it is proud to support this program. These alerts will add to the important work of first responders in communities across the nation, and the company is honored to join with others in the industry – equipment makers, device manufacturers and wireless carriers – who are working together to get PLAN implemented.

Just like the way emergency alerts are broadcasted to TV and radio, AT&T and other wireless operators will leverage PLAN to simultaneously send emergency messages to a large number of mobile phones.

Three categories of alerts have been defined: alerts from the President; alerts for events that could result in imminent threat to life or property; and alerts for missing children (‘Amber Alerts’). PLAN authenticates the alert, verifies that the sender is authorized, and sends it to participating wireless carriers. After that the participating wireless carriers such as AT&T push the alerts from cell towers to mobile phones in the affected area. The alerts appear like text messages on mobile devices.

AT&T claimed that it is committed to working with network equipment and wireless device vendors to continue deploying PLAN and compatible devices throughout 2012 and beyond.

Nathesh is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Nathesh's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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