- by theguardian
- 21 Sep 2023
Recently, a government source revealed that only a small fraction of users on certain mobile networks did not receive a critical message, and this failure will be subject to review. The majority of users who did not receive the alert seemed to be on the Three network, but some on O2 and Vodafone networks also reported difficulties. Those users who hadn't updated their phone's software in over two years or were out of reach of a 4G or 5G network were not expected to receive the message successfully.
The alert's distribution has also led to the emergence of conspiracy theories. Some users claimed to have received similar alerts on WhatsApp, adding to the confusion.
To make matters worse, it was confirmed that the Welsh language national emergency alert test contained a spelling mistake.
Interestingly, the government had previously considered implementing such an alert system but abandoned the idea due to cost concerns, estimated at around ÃÂ£1 million. However, the Covid pandemic prompted a revival of the plan as the government collaborated with mobile networks to send a text message announcing the lockdown to all 85 million phones in the country. The sheer volume of messages overwhelmed the networks, leading to a delay of almost two days for all messages to be delivered. This incident has raised questions about the robustness and effectiveness of such alert systems in critical situations.
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