For Immediate Release
June 29, 2000
Contact: Ranjit de Silva (202) 482-7002
Art Brodsky (202) 482-0019


Washington -- Gregory L. Rohde, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced he will host a roundtable on July 17 to highlight the need for the use of additional technologies to alert the public to emergencies ranging from natural disasters to chemicals spills. The event is also being co-sponsored by the All-Hazard Interagency Working Group.

Rohde said, "The weather radio service provided by the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been, and continues to be, the mainstay of our weather warning systems. But there is much that communications industries working with state, local and federal government can do to provide the public with timely warnings in case of an emergency to augment those services. The purpose of this event is to explore how new communications technologies can improve severe weather warnings and other emergencies."

The roundtable will begin at 9:30 a.m.and continue until 11:30 a.m. in Room 4830 of the Commerce Department. Attendance at the roundtable is on a first-come, first-served basis.

NTIA announced the roundtable in a Federal Register notice. The notice asked for comment by Aug. 18 on a series of questions, including whether it's technologically feasible to deliver hazard warnings through wireless devices, over the Internet, via telephones using call warnings and through other means. The Notice also seeks comments on the roadblocks to using these technologies and what public policies need to be changed to foster broader dissemination of new technologies. Reply comments are due Sept. 1. The Notice as well as the comments and replies will be posted to the NTIA website at

NTIA is also planning a demonstration in the Commerce Department lobby of technologies used to bring warning messages to the public. The list of companies and other organizations demonstrating their technologies will be made available later.

NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information policies and represents the Executive Branch before Congress, other Federal agencies, foreign governments and international organizations.


Ranjit de Silva

Director, Public Affairs

National Telecommunications & Information Administration

U.S. Department of Commerce

14th & Constritution Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20230

Tel: (202) 482-7002

Fax : (202) 219-2077