Optus joins SMS Emergency Alert system

The top three telcos will offer location-based emergency alerts by the 2013/14 fire season.

Optus is the third telco to be added to the national Emergency Alert system, with Optus customers now able to receive emergency location-based text message warnings.

Telstra joined the alert system in January this year and will offer alerts by December 2012.

Meanwhile, Vodafone joined the system in September this year and will offer SMS alerts from the 2013/14 fire season.

Optus will also provide the alert service from the 2013/14 fire season.

“In a world first, highly targeted location-based emergency warnings will be used during disasters across Australia by the end of next year,” Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said in a statement.

“It means Australian mobile phone users will be able to get these warnings if they’re in a disaster area – this system won’t only rely upon their registered address.”

The Emergency Alert system has been in place since 1 December 2009, with the government providing $60 million in funding to add to the system with location-based texting.

So far it has been used more than 500 times nationally, with more than 7 million messages sent for emergencies such as storms, flood, tsunamis and bushfires.

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