Alerts by Text Message

By WEEK Reporter

May 10, 2011 Updated May 10, 2011 at 9:22 PM CDT

Plans to launch a national emergency alert system for cellphones are underway, said the FCC on Tuesday.

The Personal Localizing Alerting Network, or PLAN, will allow emergency officials to send text messages to areas where there is a threat of natural disaster, terrorist attack, or other serious emergency.     

The free alerts will be initiated by local or state agencies and approved by FEMA before being forwarded to wireless providers.     

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have already volunteered to introduce the service in parts of New York and Washington, DC.

The service should be available from other providers by 2012.     

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