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CA rejects calls to provide govt with free emergency alerts Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Featured

Telecommunications industry lobby group Communications Alliance has rejected calls from the Queensland Government for mobile carriers to provide emergency alerts without compensation.

While rejecting the call, Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton said, however, that mobile carriers were very conscious about their responsibilities during an emergency and “they spend a lot of resources to provide government and the community with a range of vital and complex technologies that facilitate various emergency-related features, including emergency alerts”.

“These technologies are far from simple and are subject to commercial arrangements between government and the mobile carriers. Upon government’s request, mobile carriers have put in place the sophisticated technology to be able to prioritise and deliver alerts across mobile and fixed networks with millions of messages sent across Australia each year.

“At its inception in 2009, Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments decided that those services would be provided on a national basis with fees charged to government, but no direct fees payable by the recipients of emergency alerts. In line with those agreements, mobile operators ought to be compensated for the services they provide."

Stanton said mobile operators had a strong track record of assisting victims of natural disasters in a number of ways, including through giving free handsets to those whose devices have been destroyed and providing assistance with the costs of staying connected.

And he said mobile operators were also using special "cells on wheels" in areas where mobile infrastructure had been destroyed, to boost connectivity during such critical times.

“Our industry will continue to ensure that Australians benefit from state-of-the-art emergency systems. For example, work is underway to further improve location accuracy for emergency calls to allow emergency crews to have access to more detailed information about where a person in need may be located. And, of course, mobile carriers continue to provide emergency calls without compensation and free-of-charge to the caller,” he said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

 

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