Although it has been present in other countries for many years, we Spaniards still do not have a system of mass dispatch of emergency alerts to the mobile of the citizens. But there is not much left to do so: Spain must have such a system implemented before June 2022 along with the location of calls to 112 (what is commonly known as reverse 112).
In August, after being subjected to public consultation, the Government launched the Royal Decree Projects for a public hearing, and now the CNMC has proposed some improvements, among which, for example, a time limit for the operator to issue alerts from the moment you receive them or the gratuity of all emergency numbers.
Alerts of catastrophes or imminent threats
The CNMC has approved a report on the Draft Royal Decree (PRD) that will regulate the public alert system through mobile services in the event of major catastrophes or imminent or ongoing emergencies, which must enter into force before June 21, 2022, as established by the European Code of Electronic Communications. These notices would be displayed in the form of a pop-up window on the mobile phones of the population.
In order to update traditional alert channels such as sirens, radio or television, the project proposes a cell broadcast alert system (CBS), which consists of the sending alerts directly to all terminals that connect to the area affected by the disaster or emergency. Several states of the European Union have opted for a variant of this system called EU-Alert, such as the Netherlands (NL-Alert), Greece (GR-Alert), Lithuania (LT-Alert), Romania (RO-Alert) and Italy (IT-Alert).
The CNMC positively values the choice of the EU-Alert broadcast system (with CBS technology), since consumes very little network resources, something essential in a scenario of foreseeable congestion after an imminent catastrophe or emergency. However, the CNMC proposes the following improvements:
Notification of alerts: the project proposes a double emission of the alerts sent to mobile terminals, but, according to the CNMC, the possibility of sending these alerts in other languages should be expressly included.
Operators obligations: The CNMC recommends including the time limit for the operator to issue alerts from the moment it receives them, for example, 10 seconds in the case of imminent emergencies (such as a tsunami or an earthquake).
Agreement with other administrations: to prevent citizens from receiving contradictory alerts, the CNMC advises including, as a requirement to allow an administration to disseminate alerts, that its scope does not coincide with that of other organizations.
Emergency communications to 112
The other PRD on which the CNMC has issued a report is the one that it intends to incorporate into Spanish regulations a series of measures relating to 112 and defined by the European Code of Electronic Communications, such as the AML (Advanced Mobile Location) system to locate the caller from their mobile and emergency calls from vehicles (eCall). In this sense, the CNMC makes the following proposals:
Single rule to regulate emergency numbers: According to the CNMC, the regulation of all emergency numbers (061, 062, 080, 085, 088, 091, 092 and 1006) should be unified in a single legal text and the extension to them of the obligations of gratuity for the caller, routing without consideration for the operators and information on the caller’s location (which is provided to the Emergency Communications Reception Centers).
Emergency Communications Reception Centers (CRCE): recommends including the provision of establishing a maximum of one access point to the CRCEs per island. In the rest of the peninsula, it will be one per province.
Advanced Mobile Location (AML): Regarding the location functionality through a mobile terminal, the CNMC especially advises assessing the implications of using this function in relation to data protection regulations.
Emergency calls in Roaming: according to the CNMC, the future royal decree must be in accordance with the community roaming regulations that are finally approved; for example, establishing the free costs of transmission of the location information of roaming users, for access operators.
Unified regulation of all relevant aspects of emergency services: proposes, among others, that the details of the identification and address data of the subscribers to be supplied to the SGDA be included.
Referral to the CNMC of emergency numbers: the CNMC proposes that the list of national emergency services numbers be sent to it for subsequent contribution to the European database of this type of numbers, managed by BEREC.