Rogers July 8th outage didn’t disrupt the National Public Alerting System: Pelmorex

For all the disturbances the outage cause, the National Public Alerting System (thankfully) wasn't one of them

Pelmorex Weather Networks, responsible for operating the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination (“NAAD”) System, says Rogers’ July 8th outage didn’t impact its system.

Pelmorex is responsible for verifying emergency alerts and sharing them with broadcasters, wireless service providers, and other distributors, which push the alerts out to the public.

“The NAAD System is configured such that Pelmorex would never be reliant on a single internet service provider to ensure service,” Pelmorex says in its response to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), dated August 31st.

Authorized alert issuers didn’t inform Pelmorex of having trouble accessing the interface which issues alerts, the response notes.

Rogers emailed Pelmorex at 11:19am ET on July 8th to say emergency alerts through the NAAD System won’t be delivered to Rogers wireless users. Pelmorex says it first contacted Rogers at 9:25 am EDT. The response indicates Rogers responded to Pelmorex’s questions before issuing the 11:19am email.

“On the distribution side, wireless service providers (WSPs) receive emergency alert files through a private, secure IP connection hosted by a third party. This connection was not impacted by the outage and all WSPs, including Rogers, were able to receive alerts from the NAAD System.”

The NAAD System validated and processed 42 emergency alert messages between 4:00am and 11:59am ET on July 8th, all in Saskatchewan.

How it works

Pelmorex says it has a system in place to see if the Last Mile Distributor (LMD), the part of the telecommunications sequence responsible for getting the message to the end user, is disconnected from the NAAD System. With WSPs, Pelmorex sends an alert message to each of the individual cell broadcast systems operated by the provider, once it receives an alert. A link text message is issued determining the communication between the NAAD System and each cell broadcast system, confirming if each one is fully operational.

However, a successful connection between the two systems doesn’t mean the provider can distribute the alert.

But Pelmorex says there is an operational process between the company and wireless service provider if a problem should arrise.

“In the event of a loss of connection and as per standard operating procedures, the NAAD System operations team will contact the appropriate WSP support team. Similarly, WSPs possess the contact information of the 24/7 NAAD System support team and they can contact Pelmorex should they experience an issue or a loss of connection with the WPA service.”

Source: CRTC