• Enhancement to Emergency Alerts
• Alerts now reach Telstra 4G networks
• Victorian Coalition Government working with business to ensure community safety
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells today welcomed the introduction of a technical enhancement by Telstra that allows location-based Emergency Alert to reach 4G handsets on Telstra’s 4G network.
“This is a key enhancement to Emergency Alert,” Mr Wells said.
“Issuing location-based emergency warnings to the community during an emergency is a highly effective warning method. That is why I welcome this technical enhancement by Telstra that allows their 4G phones to receive location-based alerts on its 4G network.”
While Emergency Alert has existed for some time, over the last year state and territory governments, in partnership with telecommunications carriers Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, delivered a location-based solution.
“This meant Emergency Alerts could be issued to mobile phones based on their location rather than the registered service address of the phone,” Mr Wells said.
“Until now people with 4G phones operating on 4G networks could only receive location-based emergency warnings if they had made or received a call within the preceding hour. Using the handset for texts and the internet did not make the handset visible to the network for Emergency Alert.
“Telstra has successfully enhanced the solution to ensure its 4G service is now fully compatible with Emergency Alert.”
In December, Telstra announced its 4G networks reached 85 per cent of the Australian population.
Mr Wells said negotiations between Vodafone and Optus to deliver similar enhancements are ongoing.
“The Victorian Coalition Government would welcome Optus and Vodafone delivering similar location-based enhancements to their 4G networks as soon as possible to assist public safety during an emergency,” Mr Wells said.
The location-based Emergency Alert was delivered by Telstra first in 2012, followed by Optus and Vodafone in October 2013 and was funded by the Commonwealth with contributions from the Victorian Coalition Government.
Mr Wells said that since its national introduction, location-based Emergency Alerts have been used close to 270 times and issued more than 1.4 million messages.
“I expect that number will grow as the current fire emergencies continue,” Mr Wells said.
“However, it is important that nobody relies solely on a mobile phone for emergency warnings.
“People must have two or more ways of accessing warning information. This includes – tuning into your local emergency broadcaster for up-to-date information, checking www.emergency.vic.gov.au and the FireReady App.”