The preliminary results of yesterday’s nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System — which has been in place for decades—indicated that “large portions of the country” received the test message successfully, but that viewers and listeners and listeners in some areas were unable to do so — which was the point of the exercise according to senior officials with FEMA and the FCC.

“The nationwide EAS test served the purpose for which it was intended — to identify gaps and generate a comprehensive set of data to help strengthen our ability to communicate during real emergencies,” said Damon Penn, assistant administrator of FEMA’s National Continuity Programs Directorate and Jamie Barnett, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, in a joint statement.

More than 30,000 communications service providers participated in the test, and they have 45 days to report their experiences. The data will be used to identify where the system works and where it doesn’t, and what improvements need to be made going forward.