Telcos to roll out location-based alerts

By on 18 September, 2012
Vodafone has joined Telstra in a location-based emergency system that will alert their customers to nearby natural disasters, no matter where they are in Australia.
After the telco reached an agreement with state and federal governments, Vodafone customers will get the SMS warning sent directly to their mobile phones if they're in a region hit by fires or flood.
Under their existing alert system, Vodafone and Optus use customers' billing addresses, meaning they don't receive the alert while on holiday.
The National Emergency Alert System was a key recommendation to come out of the royal commission into Victoria's 2009 Black Saturday bushfires which killed 173 people.
Telstra will roll out the location-based text messages from this November, with Vodafone aiming to have the system operational by November 2013.
Both federal Emergency Management Minister Nicola Roxon and Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan welcomed Vodafone's agreement to embrace the technology.
"These changes are going to be a huge help for our emergency service agencies and will help to prepare local communities in times of disaster," Ms Roxon said.
Mr Ryan said state and territory governments were in negotiations to bring other carriers on board with the world-leading technology.
Vodafone industry strategy general manager Matthew Lobb said the company had already started work to build the location-based emergency warning system.
"The new system will require a significant amount of development and testing, including work by emergency services," Mr Lobb said in a statement.
Vodafone said the system will allow SMS alerts to be delivered to international and domestic tourists visiting an area that is under threat from an emergency.
Optus is also working towards developing a location-based warning system.
A spokesperson told AAP they were in the final stages of negotiations.
"We hope to conclude these shortly," Optus said in a statement.

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