On Tuesday, April 7, 2012 (Saturday), commercial mobile service providers who have opted in to provide commercial mobile service alerts to their customers are supposed to begin providing CMAS service. Participation in CMAS by mobile providers is completely voluntary. For those RTG members that opted-in to providing CMAS services, RTG has asked the FCC to waive the April 7, 2012 implementation deadline or alternatively extend it to June 5, 2012 due to a glitch with receiving proper FEMA authorization.
Because of the complexities and costs of offering CMAS to subscribers, many commercial mobile carriers, including RTG members, have used third party aggregators to help secure an interface with the Federal Alert Aggregator/Gateway (the “Gateway”). It has come to the attention of RTG that by-and-large, a majority of smaller commercial mobile carriers are currently unable to provider CMAS alerts to their customers by tomorrow’s implementation deadline because FEMA has not yet executed the necessary Memorandum of Understanding with the carrier for either administrative or technical reasons.
Reminder to RTG Members Who Opted Out of Providing CMAS: Notices Required By May 15, 2012
As a reminder, mobile providers who have elected not to participate in CMAS either in whole or in part must provide the requisite notices to consumers no later than Tuesday, May 15, 2012. FCC rules require that CMS providers electing not to transmit CMAS alerts provide clear and conspicuous notice of their company’s non-election or partial-election in the CMAS program to new or prospective subscribers at the point of sale, including stores, kiosks, third party reseller locations, and websites. CMS providers must also take into account the needs of persons with disabilities when displaying these notices through sales channels. CMS providers must provide existing subscribers with similar notices of a carrier’s partial or non-election by means of an announcement amending the existing customer’s service agreement. In the case of prepaid customers, carriers are to provide notification using a postal mailing address if available or some other “reasonable method” such as voice-based notification or website notification if a postal address is not provided by the customer. Customers of CMS providers have the ability to opt-out of certain types of CMAS alerts, but are required to receive others. Finally, the Commission’s rules also provide the ability for customers to unilaterally terminate service agreements if their provider initially elected to participate in CMAS but subsequently backs out.