RCB SMS – what is it and how does it work?

In recent days, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have been receiving “RCB Alerts.” This is thanks to a pilot program of the Government Security Center, which for the first time sends warning messages in this way. We decided to answer the most common questions about these text messages.

RCB SMS - what is it and how does it work?

RCB is the Government Security Center, which is part of the crisis management system subordinate to the Prime Minister. Thanks RCB can prevent crises, and when they occur, minimize their effects. The RCB analyzes threats based on data obtained from all possible “crisis centers”, including international partners. The RCB is also responsible for coordinating the flow of information about threats. Hence the recent dispatches of severe thunderstorm warnings.

1.How did the RCB get my cell number?

The Government Safety Center does not have access to our numbers – they have enlisted the help of your carrier to notify them that an important warning needs to be sent from relay stations located near areas prone to recent severe storms.

2 – Does the RCB itself work with telecom operators like Play, Orange etc?

RCB works directly with each of the telecom operators – it sends them information about the need to send important information, which as part of the pilot must be distributed to subscribers in a specific province, and ultimately a specific county. RCB receives information on threats from uniformed services, IMGW and domestic and foreign institutions.

(3) Can a telecommunications operator refuse to send such warning text messages?

According to the agreement between the operators and the Ministry of Digitalisation, Ministry of Interior, UKE and RCB, the operators agreed to send the message immediately and free of charge. Since implementation works are currently underway, some subscribers may not have received the message due to technical reasons. The effectiveness of the mailing is monitored directly by the operators so that it reaches the recipients even more efficiently in the future.

4. Can the RCB use my mobile number for purposes other than just warnings?

The RCB does not have access to our numbers, so it cannot use them. The alert message is sent to the operator who distributes the message to their subscribers. The RCB does not receive any databases in connection with such mailings.

5. how often are these alert messages sent? For example, how many in the last 12 months?

RCB messages will only be sent in emergencies, and the number of messages is not predetermined. Over the past 12 months, Poles have received 1 RCB message, sent in two stages. The first was a dispatch to people in the provinces of Mazowieckie, Lubelskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Podlaskie. The second concerned Małopolskie, Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie provinces.

Do the warnings go to all people who were actually in the endangered area or to those who live in the area (specified in the contract address)?

The messages are sent to all subscribers staying within the range of a base station (BTS) located in the affected area. Therefore, people temporarily staying in the area should also receive the message.

7 What mechanism is used to send such warnings?

I n the case of RCB and warnings sent by municipalities, the message goes to the operators who send it to subscribers using their systems and infrastructure. The difference comes in determining the recipients. In RCB, this is determined by geolocation. Dispatches conducted by municipalities reach a specific base of recipients, who themselves have subscribed to the appropriate base of the territorial unit. Their contact and permission to dispatch is coordinated by local governments.

8 – Can a notification of a dangerous event be sent by a particular municipality?

Yes, it is possible. Such dispatches are carried out by about 300 municipalities and city councils from all over Poland.

Have such dispatches been already carried out by municipalities?

They concern weather threats, traffic obstructions, but also reminders about payments and important local events. They inform, for example, about traffic jams, fuel prices, approaching storms, smog or heat waves. For example, SMSAPI implemented them in: The same dispatch mechanism can also be used to send information about the most important local events, e.g. traffic jams, fuel prices, upcoming storms, smog or heat waves.

10) Can the same mechanism of sending messages be used by another entity, e.g. SMSAPI? commercial to reach all the people in an area with an advertisement for their product?

Yes and no at the same time. Currently, the commercial provision of a similar mechanism is possible in one Polish operator. However, it will not be sent to all its customers, but only to those who have agreed to send geolocalized marketing via SMS.

An alternative is to use mass SMS platforms, such as SMSAPI. However, also in this case, the advertiser cannot send the advertisement to everyone in the area, but only to those who have previously agreed to receive such messages.

Municipalities and offices can have a significant impact on the flow of information between the office and the residents. They can not only warn, but also create a bond with residents, build a community on events, provide information useful in everyday life, e.g. The most favorable fuel price on any given day.

11. how much does a dispatch like RCB cost? Who pays for it?

When dispatching, operators bear the cost of handling, dispatch preparation, dispatch staff, and equipment costs.

12 .Doesn’t it overload the network?

In fact, the telecommunications network is heavily loaded during such a dispatch – it resembles the situation on New Year’s Eve, when several million people are trying to connect with each other at one hour. That is why recently SMS messages on behalf of RCB were sent in stages.

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