Thailand to launch emergency alert system following Siam Paragon shooting incident

Photo courtesy of เศรษฐา ทวีสิน - Srettha Thavisin (Facebook) / DSB (Flickr).

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) of Thailand have initiated a collaborative project to implement an effective emergency alert system. The move comes in the wake of a shooting incident at the Siam Paragon Mall on October 3.

DES Minister Prasert Jantararuangthong relayed that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is keen on a public alert system being developed for specific areas to ensure the safety of the public. The ministry has been tasked to expedite the development of such a system and liaise with the concerned parties.

On the day of the shooting, Siam Paragon sent an SMS alert to its tenants. However, there was no government body in place to disseminate the information to the wider public in the area.

To address this, a location-based SMS system is being planned to launch within a month and can send alerts nationwide.

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The DES minister further explained that in the medium term, a more efficient cell broadcast system would be introduced.

This system would be able to transmit a message instantly to all mobile phones or communication devices within a designated area.

SMS alert system

The ministry’s data reveals that a location-based SMS alert system would take approximately 15-20 minutes to identify which mobile phone SIM cards are in a particular area, followed by an additional 1-20 minutes to send messages to the targeted individuals, reported Bangkok Post. On the other hand, a cell broadcast system can send messages directly via radio cells, eliminating the need for mobile phone users to download an application.

The cell broadcast system is projected to be ready for deployment within six months to a year. The DES ministry and the NBTC will finalize the technical details of this system and then encourage mobile phone operators to adopt it.

NBTC Chairman, Dr Sarana Boonbaichaiyapruck, stated that the operational process necessitates the establishment of a command centre which will instruct telecom operators to transmit alert messages via the designated method.

The NBTC is set to issue relevant regulations to facilitate these operations. The telecom regulator has also urged operators to install the necessary equipment and software to enable the cell broadcast system at the earliest.

Pratthana Leelapanang, Chief Consumer Business Officer at Advanced Info Service (AIS), affirmed the company’s commitment to ensuring a secure network for tourists in Thailand.

Pratthana stated that the company would work with the government to provide emergency warnings through mobile networks. This initiative aims to bolster the confidence of tourists in the safety and security of travel in Thailand, reported Bangkok Post.

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