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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts)?

A: The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is a new national public safety system that allows customers who own a WEA-enabled mobile device to receive geographically-targeted text-like messages alerting them of emergencies within their immediate area. For more details on WEA, visit the FCC's website at

Q: What types of alerts will WEA deliver?

A: WEA alerts the public about critical emergencies such as tornados, wildfires and hurricanes, major highway accidents, university campus lockdowns, and child abductions. Alerts are issued by the National Weather Service, state and local authorities, and the president of the United States. There are three specific types of alerts:

  1. Presidential Alerts
  2. Imminent Threats to Life and Property Alerts
  3. Child Abduction/AMBER Alerts

Q: Who will receive WEA alerts?

A: Alerts are geographically targeted, so only customers in the threat area during the period when an alert is in effect will receive them. For example: If an alert is sent in Mason, OH, a customer with a capable device who lives in that area will not receive the alert if they are in Florence, KY at the time the alert is sent. Similarly, someone with a capable device visiting Mason from Florence when the alert is sent would receive the alert.

Q: Do I need GPS for alerts to work?

A: No. WEA does not use the customer mobile number to transmit messages and alerts are not delivered to specific phones, so WEA does not need to identify your phone's location. Rather, an alert is broadcast to a specific area. Any capable device on the Cincinnati Bell Wireless network located in that area will receive the alert. WEA broadcasts messages similar to that of radio today.

Q: Will I get WEA alerts anywhere on the Cincinnati Bell Wireless network?

A: CBW has implemented WEA on its 3G and 4G network. At this time, wireless emergency alerts will not be delivered to WEA-enabled devices while operating on CBW's 2G network or while connected to CBW's network via a pico cell or WiFi Internet connection.

Q: What if I travel into an affected area after an alert is sent?

A: Alerts will be sent every 5 minutes until the alert expires. So, if you travel into an affected area after the original alert is sent, you will receive a subsequent alert (unless the alert is expired). Your device will only display the alert once.

Q: Will I receive WEA alerts when I am roaming on another carrier's network?

A: It depends on the participation of the wireless carrier on whose network you are roaming. If your WEA-enabled phone is roaming on the network of a participating wireless carrier then you should receive the alert.

Q: Are WEA alerts free?

A: Yes. Customers do not pay to receive WEA alerts.

Q: Do I have to sign up to receive alerts?

A: No. Cincinnati Bell Wireless customers with capable devices will automatically receive WEA alerts.

Q: Can I block WEA alerts?

A: Partially. You can block Imminent Threat and/or Child Abduction/AMBER Alerts; but, you cannot block Presidential Alerts. The user manual for your WEA-capable phone will have instructions on how to block alerts.

Q: What will happen when I receive a WEA alert?

A: WEA alerts appear much like a text message and are accompanied by a unique audible signal and vibration. Alerts will be short, easy to read, and contain basic information.

Q: Who should I contact if I have questions or need additional information about a WEA Wireless Emergency Alert that I received?

A: You should contact the alert sender with any questions about a specific alert. Cincinnati Bell Wireless is not responsible for the content of the alert and has no information beyond what is included in the message. The alerts originate from local, state or federal agencies.

Q: What devices are capable of receiving WEA alerts?

A: In most cases, you will need to purchase a new wireless emergency alert-capable handset if you wish to receive alerts. However, some handsets will just require a software upgrade to become alert capable. CBW will notify you if an upgrade becomes available for your handset. Handsets that are capable of receiving wireless emergency alerts will list this capability in the description of the device. You can view all of CBW's handsets and their capabilities at As more WEA-enabled devices are made available by vendors, CBW will add more WEA-capable devices to its lineup.

Q: Can I receive WEA alerts if I have a prepaid phone?

A: Yes. You can receive alerts on a prepaid phone as long as your device is alert-capable.

Q: Why did the government start WEA?

A: WEA is designed to supplement the existing Emergency Alert System which announces public safety alerts through broadcasters and other media service providers. The system was implemented by the FCC in response to the Warning, Alert and Response Act passed by Congress in 2006.

Q: How does our state or local emergency agency send WEA Wireless Emergency Alerts?

A: State and local Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) must interact directly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to register for WEA. It is not the carrier's role to facilitate an EMA's registration with FEMA.

Q: Does the WEA program have other names?

A: Some agencies and carriers may refer to WEA as the "Personal Localized Alerting Network" (or PLAN). Others may simply call WEA "Wireless Emergency Alerts" (or WEA). These names all refer to the WEA public safety system.