Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) – cellular alerts and warning

On May 11, 2011, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski visited New York and announced the roll-out of Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN).

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.

This announcement covers the beginning “roll-out” of the PLAN cellular alert system for which there is a specific requirement that the alert signal be a distinctive vibration for those with hearing disabilities recognize it as a cellular alert message, and a distinctive audible alert so that persons with vision disabilities recognize it as a CMAS alert message. PLAN enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas through cell towers (e.g. lower Manhattan), which pushes the information to dedicated receivers in PLAN-enabled mobile devices.

In 2006, Congress passed the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act requiring carriers that choose to participate to activate PLAN technology by a deadline determined by the FCC, which is April 2012. Participants that will offer PLAN at least two calendar quarters ahead of schedule in New York City are AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Ninety percent of New York subscribers who have a PLAN-capable mobile device in these cities will be able to receive PLAN alerts by the end of 2011. For more information on PLAN (Personal Localized Alerting Network), visit the Federal Communications Commission website at or follow @FCC on Twitter.


What is “PLAN” and why is it a good thing:

FCC Chairman Genachowski’s remarks at New York announcement of PLAN: