PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications has invested P400 million in cell broadcast service (CBS) technology that will strengthen the nationwide alert system of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) during emergencies and calamities.
CBS technology enables the delivery of messages on a broadcast so that one message can be sent to a large number of devices quickly and broadcast to all cell-broadcast enabled handsets within a designated target area. It enables location-specific emergency alerts without the need to register or track devices. It also has the capability to deliver messages and alerts from NDRRMC or PHIVOLCS to visitors coming from abroad who’s in the perimeter of the selected broadcast area where an emergency is imminent.
“This is a major investment for Smart as we support the government in its call to further improve emergency communications systems amid the rising threat of disasters. In times of emergencies and disasters, delivering quick and timely alerts to high-risk communities can help save lives. This technology will allow us to rapidly send out alert messages without using up network resources,” said Ramon R. Isberto, Head of Public Affairs at PLDT and Smart.
“Unlike SMS or text services, CBS has its own dedicated broadcast channel, ensuring sustained broadcast alerts even when the network receives heavy traffic from all the calls and messages made during disasters which makes it a viable platform solution for a mobile-based alert system,” Isberto concluded.
Smart’s CBS technology will be tested initially in September in the Metro Manila area and will be fully operational nationwide by December this year. The first area to benefit from this is the densely populated Metro Manila followed by major identified areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Republic Act 10639 or the “The Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act” mandates all telecommunication services providers to send free mobile alerts in the event of natural and man-made disasters and calamities. Working with the government and other partners, Smart has helped build capacities of high-risk communities to prepare for, manage the impact, and bounce back from disasters using technologies appropriate to the community. It has embraced disaster preparedness not only within its ranks but also in engaging various partners as part of its #SafePH campaign.