UK emergency alert system to cost £25m

4 months ago 1
Media caption,

Watch UK alert spell disconnected (again, oregon if you missed it)

By Joshua Nevett

BBC Politics

The UK's exigency alert strategy volition outgo up to £25.3m successful its archetypal 3 years, the authorities has said.

The strategy was tested for the archetypal clip past month, with messages sent to millions of smartphones.

In the future, the alert could beryllium utilized to contented warnings astir unsafe situations, including fires, flooding oregon panic attacks.

The authorities says the strategy is simply a "vital instrumentality to support the nationalist harmless successful life-threatening emergencies".

But critics person branded the alerts intrusive, and the outgo of the strategy has been the taxable of speculation.

On Thursday, the Conservative adjacent and Cabinet Office minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, revealed much details astir the outgo of the system.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: "The full outgo to day of processing the method architecture and systems which underpin the exigency alert programme, successful summation to the archetypal 3 years of operational delivery, volition beryllium a maximum of £25.3m."

The baroness said those costs included a declaration worthy up to £5m with Fujitsu, a Japanese IT steadfast which has been hired to enactment connected the system.

Other costs see contracts totalling £18.6m to mobile web operators, arsenic good arsenic further spending connected information investigating and ineligible work.

"The remaining costs were spent connected information investigating and ineligible fees," Baroness Neville-Rolfe said.

"The circumstantial figures are commercially delicate and tin truthful not beryllium released to the public."

The BBC has asked the Cabinet Office for comment.

Image source, Cabinet Office

Peers person said the engagement of Fujitsu, which was astatine the centre of the Horizon Post Office scandal, could undermine nationalist spot successful the alert system.

More than 700 Post Office managers were convicted erstwhile Fujitsu's faulty accounting bundle made it look similar wealth was missing from their sites.

The authorities said Fujitsu had a "small role" successful the improvement of the strategy and insisted determination was nary nexus betwixt its enactment for the Post Office and the alerts.

The alert included a abbreviated message, accompanied by a large 10-second sound and vibration.

On the time of the test, 23 April, immoderate smartphone users said they did not person the alert astatine all.

The authorities said the alert did not scope an estimated 7% of compatible devices successful the UK.

About 80% of mobile phones successful the UK were compatible to person the alert, according to the Cabinet Office.

The Cabinet Office has said determination are apt to beryllium further nationalist tests of the strategy successful the coming years.

Many countries astir the satellite usage emergency-alert systems, including the United States, the Netherlands and Japan.

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