Tech expert reassures people who didn’t get the emergency alert message3 min read
As millions of Brits were left shocked and intrigued by the first test of the country's Emergency Alert system earlier today (April 23), social media was filled with comments from those who did not get it.
And while it was warned weeks ago that phones with older operating systems – anything before Android 10 or iOS 14.5– it seems like the system failed for many who should have got it.
The test was dubbed an “epic fail” by many on Twitter, with one person claiming that only two of the seven phones they had in their home went off.
READ MORE: Emergency Alert dubbed 'epic fail' as chaos sees Brits miss out on life-saving message
For those who got the message, it read: "In a real emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others save. Visit gov.uk/alerts for more information. This is a test. You do not need to take any action.”
The alert failure even forced phone network Three to apologise.
A spokesman said: “We are aware that a number of customers have not received the test alert.
“We are working closely with the government to understand why and ensure it doesn't happen when the system is in use.”
And the warning even went off one minute earlier than planned, at 2.59pm instead of 3pm.
The Daily Star reached out to tech expert Emma Chittenden to find out what could have caused the issues – and it seems as if it could be down to the country's ageing infrastructure.
She said: “The two most obvious reasons are that the setting was disabled – but you’d have to know where it was to do it – and signal failure will account for some of them.
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“Others could have phones too old to have that feature on them, as it was only added in the last three years.
“The technical architecture of the phone networks in this country is OLD and deploying stuff like this to all the types of phones on all the bandwidths, such as 3G and upwards, is complicated, because it’s resource heavy.
“Failure is inevitable at some level at this scale.
“Deploying one minute early was just a f**k-up probably due to poorly synced time clocks which is a bl***y stupid error.
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“Essentially it's like when all the Taylor Swift fans tried to buy tickets from Ticketmaster at the same time and the system just couldn't handle it.”
Reports have also suggested the alert relied on towers that go up to 4G or 5G, so if you were connected via 3G when the test alert was sent, then your phone may not be capable of receiving it.
The incapability of the network to handle the sheer volume needed to inform the entire public could explain why BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey ended up getting the warning 12 minutes later.
The Daily Star has reached out to Downing Street for a comment on the situation.
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