Why “wireless only” is such a threat to Emergency Notification Systems

It’s no secret that the conventional landline telephone is headed to extinction.

Using some of the same data we study, USTelecom – a telecom trade association – projects that “switched landline” phones will be present in only about 25% of US household by the end of the year.  Many of the remaining households have some other kind of landline – mostly VOIP phones.  But USTelecom thinks that 43% of homes will be “wireless only” by the end of 2013.

Here’s another scary number.  At current growth rates, by the end of the decade, we project that less than 15% of households will have a landline of any kind.

Emergency notification systems that call or text people depend on getting their phone numbers from the local phone company, but these numbers are usually only available for landlines.  Without the wireless numbers, a large and growing percentage of the population is going to be missed.

To offset this problem, almost every community has a local registration page for citizens to provide their numbers.  But these pages – and the marketing campaigns that promote them – usually get less than 10% of the population.  And that’s generous.  One ENS provider’s statistics imply a sign-up rate of about 2%.

Missing 40% or more of the population is simply not acceptable.  This is why we’re totally focused on finding solutions to the “wireless-only” problem.

Wireless Emergency Alerts” are a good start, but limited.  There’s much more that needs to be done.