WORLD Cell networks disrupted after first presidential alert message test in US

WORLD

Cell networks disrupted after first presidential alert message test in US

Xinhua

17:50, October 04, 2018

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- For several hours, subscribers of several cell networks were unable to access their network after receiving the first ever presidential alert on Wednesday, local reports said.

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Photo: Xinhua

The unexpected outage began at around 11:21 a.m. Pacific Time (1821 GMT), about two minutes after the inaugural test of the National Wireless Emergency Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"The presidential alert went out and after that I lost all Internet, Gmail, apps. Everything stopped working," Sarah Mendivel, a medical researcher at Seattle Children's Hospital, told the Seattle Times Wednesday afternoon.

Soon after the outage, an AT&T spokesperson told the Seattle Times that the problem had been addressed and that it had not been related to the presidential text.

It is the first nationwide test of the system built by the federal government and cell phone carriers to warn Americans of an emergency, like a terror attack or a widespread disaster.

"The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed," read a statement from FEMA ahead of the alert test.

The alert went out to nearly every smart phone in the United States that was turned on and there was no opt-out. Originally scheduled for Sept. 20, the test was postponed due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.

Cover photo: The first test of the national wireless emergency system by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is shown on a cellular phone in Detroit, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. About 225 million electrtonic devices across the United States received alerts from FEMA Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: AP)

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