May 10, 2011 - 11:04 am
By Julius Genachowski | Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

Today, I am honored to be at the World Trade Center site with New York City Mayor Bloomberg, FEMA Administrator Fugate, and the heads of the nation’s largest wireless carriers to announce an important initiative to harness the power of communications technology to enhance public safety and save lives.

The Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN)is a new technology and service that will turn your mobile device into an emergency alert device with potentially life-saving messages when public safety is threatened.

How will it do this? PLAN will allow government officials to send text-like alerts to everyone in a targeted geographic area with an enabled mobile device. Since the alerts are geographically targeted, they will reach the right people, at the right time, with the right messages.

PLAN creates a fast lane for emergency alerts, so this vital information is guaranteed to get through even if there’s congestion in the network.

This new technology could make a tremendous difference during disasters like the recent tornadoes in Alabama where minutes – or even seconds – of extra warning could make the difference between life and death. And we saw the difference alerting systems can make in Japan, where they have an earthquake early warning system that issued alerts that saved lives.

Today, we are announcing that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have put PLAN on the fast track.

Thanks to a public-private collaboration with the FCC, FEMA, wireless carriers and the city of New York, PLAN will be up and running in New York City by the end of the year – at least two quarters ahead of schedule.

By next April, it will be deployed in cities across the country by not only the carriers represented here today, but also by many others, including Leap, MetroPCS, and USCellular.

Millions of people have a plan for their cell phone minutes. Now, they’ve got a free PLAN for their personal safety.

To learn more visit Or ask us on Twitter @FCC #LocalAlerts