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C Spire Offers Wireless Emergency Alerts on its Network

Carrier broadcasts free, text-like notifications on customer devices equipped to receive special alerts related to severe weather threats, missing persons and national emergencies

Ridgeland, Miss. (May 19, 2016) – With the start of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season just around the corner, C Spire is reminding consumers that they can receive free, location-based notifications on capable mobile phones under a national public safety warning system designed to alert consumers during emergencies.

Wireless carriers voluntarily broadcast the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) over their networks in cooperation with state and federal authorities under the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) program, but only after extensive testing and certification by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The alerts played an important role in keeping Mississippi residents updated about weather threats during a rash of tornadoes, severe storms and flooding that swept through the state in recent months, killing 10 people, injuring 40 others and damaging thousands of homes and businesses. Without the alerts, the death toll and damage totals would have been much higher, according to emergency response officials.

C Spire received final FEMA approval in 2014 to begin broadcasting the text-like, 90 character messages designed to warn consumers about severe weather threats, missing persons or Presidential alerts during national emergencies. Customers can opt out of weather and missing person alerts by adjusting their device notification settings, but Presidential alerts are mandatory.

“Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency like a hurricane,” said Stephen Bye, chief technology officer for C Spire. “With WEA, warnings are sent to your phone when you’re in harm’s way without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service.”

C Spire currently offers 40 WEA-capable devices, which are identified with a special logo both in stores and online. All smartphones manufactured and introduced after 2012 are WEA-capable. The C Spire certified device list includes:

  • iPhone: 6, 6Plus, 6se, 5s, 5c, 5 and 4s
  • Samsung: Chrono2, GS 4, GS 5, GS 6, GS 6 Edge, GS 6 Edge+, GS 7, Note 5 and Grand Prime
  • Motorola: Defy XT, Moto G, Moto X, Moto X + 1 and Moto E
  • HTC: One M7, One M9, Desire 626
  • LG: G 3, G4, G5, Flex II, K8, LG F7, LG Fluid and LG Fluid II
  • Blackberry: 9930 and 9350,
  • Kyocera: Dura XA
  • Unimax: U680
  • Sonim: Endura 4400

Bye said the WEA messages feature a special tone and vibration that is repeated twice so users can easily identify these types of emergency alerts. In some smartphone models, there may be an audible warning.

Alerts are targeted to specific geographic areas where threats occur and Bye said customers will receive the message if they travel into an area where an alert has been issued or if they are already within the area using a WEA-capable device.

The alerts are required under the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act, a 2006 law that established a voluntary, national emergency alert system called for by President Bush in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the U.S. that killed 3,000 people, damaged the Pentagon and destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City.

For more information about Wireless Emergency Alerts and CMAS on the C Spire network, go to www.cspire.com/cmas.

About C Spire C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.