Optus to send emergency alerts

Monday, 24 September, 2012

Optus users will now be able to receive emergency location-based text message warnings from the National Emergency Alert System. The telecommunications company will join Telstra and Vodafone in providing emergency warnings during disasters.

“Getting emergency warnings out effectively during a natural disaster is absolutely critical; I’m pleased Optus has come on board to do this,” said Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management Nicola Roxon.

“Highly targeted location-based emergency warnings will be used during disasters across Australia by the end of next year.

“It means Australian mobile phone users will be able to get these warnings if they’re in a disaster area - this system won’t only rely upon their registered address.”

The government invested nearly $60 million to establish and upgrade the emergency alert system so that Australians can benefit from the technology, which will provide highly targeted location-based emergency warnings to be sent during disasters. The Victorian Government also contributed to this investment.

“Emergency alert has delivered 7.5 million warning messages for more than 500 emergencies across Australia and the location-based capability will enhance this system even further,” Roxon said.

Acting Premier of Victoria Peter Ryan commended the efforts of Victoria’s Emergency Services Commissioner Michael Hallowes, who led the negotiations on behalf of the Victorian Government with all three major telecommunications carriers on behalf of all states and territories.

“The Emergency Services Commissioner has done an outstanding job working with Telstra, Vodafone and Optus to ensure all three major carriers provide this technology to Australia’s mobile phone users,” Ryan said.

“The degree of complexity in delivering technology cannot be underestimated, and we are very proud to see such a great outcome for the people of Victoria and Australia.”

With this agreement in place, Ryan said all three carriers would have the location-based system in place by the 2013-14 fire season.

“As planned, Telstra will deliver location-based capability to its customers by December 2012 and Vodafone and Optus will have it in place ahead of the 2013-14 fire season,” Ryan said.

“While I am extremely happy that these agreements are in place, I do caution people who enter disaster-prone areas not to solely rely on their mobile phone.

“It is important that people tune in to the radio, check emergency services websites and stay aware of conditions.”

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