Thu, May 19, 2011 - Page 2 News List

NCC exploring two options for public disaster warnings

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Terrestrial television services may soon be able to broadcast earthquake-related information immediately after a temblor is detected by the Central Weather Bureau, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.

Commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said that media regulations require radio and TV services to run news tickers to inform the public after a natural disaster has occurred. The commission is working to establish an automatic alert system to warn the public before disasters strike.

Chen said the commission had delivered two short-term proposals, both of which could be accomplished within three years.

The first would encourage telecom operators to provide a location-based service (LBS), which can disseminate disaster-prevention text messages in potential disaster zones using mobile devices.

Chunghwa Telecom is currently the only operator using an LBS.

It used the service to alert residents of Keelung and Yilan County and motorists along the Suhua Highway after the US’ Pacific Tsunami Warning Center included Taiwan in the tsunami-warning areas following Japan’s massive March 11 earthquake.

The second proposal would ask terrestrial TV services to connect to the weather bureau’s system, Chen said. If an earthquake is detected, an earthquake alert would be shown on the screen.

The possibility of developing the cell-broadcasting service is not high at present because the most current third-generation phones or smartphones are not equipped with such a function, the commission said.

Mobile phone manufacturers said they would be able to adjust their assembly lines to incorporate such a feature if the government sets the new specifications.

Chen said the commission will present its proposals to the National Disasters Prevention and Protection Commission, but the Executive Yuan will make the final decision.

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