Interop Technologies this week announced that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have approved the company’s hosted commercial mobile alert system (CMAS) solution, which is targeted to Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators.

CMAS is a nationwide alerting system being implemented by the FCC and FEMA, in accordance with federal law enacted in 2006. Although the program is voluntary, carriers will have to clearly advertise to potential customers if their networks are not part of CMAS — a potential disadvantage in the ultra-competitive mobile wireless sector, said Damian Sazama, Interop’s vice president of corporate and product marketing.

However, the resources needed to install and maintain a CMAS may not be available to smaller carriers that are trying to deploy 4G networks, so many are seeking hosted solutions, such as the one being offered by Interop, Sazama said.

“What we heard from our operators is, ‘We want to be compliant [with CMAS], but we don’t want to spend a lot of money,’” Sazama said. “If a carrier went off and tried to put an in-network solution, you’re looking a minimum of a couple hundred thousand dollars for hardware, software and development time. Our hosted solution is a mere fraction of that.

“It’s a pretty attractive solution for these operators. It allows them to focus on their other projects.”

Interop maintains redundant CMAS gateways in Dallas and Fort Meyers, Fla., so the cost of this expensive hardware can be shared by all carrier customers instead of being borne by a single carrier, Sazama said.

Other benefits of the Interop hosted solution is the fact that the carrier does not have to use valuable engineering resources to maintain the alerting capability and that it will not have to worry about taking steps to upgrade the system, said Nir Marciano, CMAS product manager for Interop.

“If there is any other future mandatory requirements initiated by FEMA, all of our customers are covered under the hosted agreement they have with us,” Marciano said.

Under CMAS, there are three levels of alerts — presidential alerts, imminent-threat alerts and AMBER alerts — that will be distributed throughout the system using cell-broadcast technology. Presidential alerts must be received by all CMAS-compliant devices, but consumers can choose to opt out of receiving imminent-threat and AMBER alerts.