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Incompatible phones and missing software updates could be why some missed mobile alert test says EMO

The Alert Ready system, meant to warn the public about safety threats, was tested last Wednesday at 1:55 p.m. in Nova Scotia
(stock photo)

With files from the Canadian Press

It could be next year before Nova Scotian cell phones receive another emergency alert test, however many reported not getting the one sent out last week.

The system, meant to warn the public about safety threats, was tested last Wednesday at 1:55 p.m. in our province.

Test alerts already go out several times a year through TV and radio, but for the first time cell phones were included.

Paul Mason, executive director of the province's Emergency Management Office, said they were generally pleased with the results, but were left with some questions.

"Definitely we've heard reports on social media, and what have you, about some handsets not receiving the alerts," he said. "So that's really the core reason we do these tests, we want to get more information as to why that occurred."

The system, which was supposed to be fully operational nationwide under regulator orders by April 6, was put to the test across most of the country.

The first test, last Monday in Quebec, didn't sound at all due to a coding error, which the system operator said was fixed within a couple of hours.

Later that day, some test alerts were heard and felt on mobile devices in Ontario, but many wireless subscribers didn't receive any signals.

There was also sporadic success last Wednesday across western provinces as well as in Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Pelmorex, the company that operates the Alert Ready system, said it confirmed all of the alert test messages it distributed were successfully transmitted to wireless, however the company has no way of knowing whether the service providers actually distribute the messages, except for what it sees or hears being broadcast.

Mason said it will now be up to the various wireless providers to go through their systems to figure out why some phones didn't get the alert.

"If there are phones that should have received an alert and didn't, we need to ... understand why that happened so that we can correct it."

In some instances here in Nova Scotia, Mason said it could be because the phone wasn't compatible with the system (you can check online), or because it was missing a software update.

According to the Alert Ready website, three more tests are expected in 2018 for radio and TV in Nova Scotia, but they are not expected to include cell phones.

Mason believes that would need to be coordinated on a national level, like last week's test.


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