Internet service starts weather warning
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Nov 01, 2000
An Internet service provider will launch an Internet-based severe-weather
warning service for its customers next week, and the National Weather Service
hopes other companies will follow suit.
Front Range Internet Inc., an ISP based in Fort Collins, Colo., will make
its WeatherLink service available on its Web site starting next week. Customers
can sign up for the service to have NWS severe-weather alerts delivered
to their computer while they are surfing the Internet. Customers will hear
an alarm and see a pop-up window that displays the warning message for a
particular location in Colorado that they choose.
The service could evolve to include locations across the country, and other
ISPs could use the non-proprietary software to provide the same service
to their customers, said William Ward, president of Front Range. The company
demonstrated a prototype of the system on Wednesday.
The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration
challenged a group of Internet, wireless, broadcast and cable executives
at a July roundtable to come up with new ways to use technology to help
deliver warnings of severe weather and other natural disasters. Front Range
is the first to answer the call.
NWS hopes that this is just the first of many companies that will find new
ways to deliver hazardous-weather information to the public.
Gregory Rohde, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information,
said he is "issuing a challenge to other ISPs" to develop similar services
for their customers.
"We need to have ISPs come to the table, use the technology and become part
of the partnership. We want [other] industries to use these technologies
to enhance warning systems."