My position is simple: If Pelmorex was serious in their desire to deliver emergency alerts to Canadians, then they would do so in a manner that wouldn't require a BDU subscription. Yes, third party radio stations and local TV are free to use their service, but there are no guarantees--the service is voluntary. It's possible the service isn't being used whatsoever.
Any emergency alerting system must have the ability to put the message where the public will see or hear it. There are two main ways of accomplishing this objective.
The most direct is a system like the one used in the US that operates using the NWS radio network. NWS has a group of radio frequencies around 162 MHz used to relay weather information to the public. Relatively inexpensive sets are available at retail to receive these stations. The user can listen to the continuous weather broadcasts like a conventional radio or program a geographic code into the radio that will cause it unmute when an emergency message is sent that affects the listener's geographic location. These radios are silent except when an alert is being transmitted so they can be ready at night for weather and disaster emergencies. The dedicated system is very good if people buy the radios and keep them ready for an emergency message.
The alternative system requires interrupting broadcasting services that already have a significant number of listeners/viewers. The ears and eyeballs are already listening or watching so the alert message will reach its target. The message must interrupt regular programming and not be carried on a special channel that most people will not be using. The most effective broadcast channel for an alert will depend on the time of day. Radio is most effective when many people are in their cars or listening while they work. Television will be better in the evening. Wireless broadcast messages can also be effective because of the number of cell phones in use.
The only way to access these channels is through cooperation with the broadcaster or BDU having the technical capability to insert the message. Pelmorex could not do it on their own.
The deficiency of the broadcast based approach is the lack of messaging capability when the radio and TV are off and people are sleeping. Dedicated systems like the US weather radio and warning sirens have the advantage when people are sleeping. About the least useful system for a first alert is a television weather channel on a BDU or OTA that people only tune when they are already aware that a problem exists or may be about to occur.
For all we know, Pelmorex hired a University student on work term on the cheap, asked this person to create something, gave it a fancy and official-sounding name, then ran off to the CRTC and said, "look at what we did! Can you give us consideration in the form of must carry?".
Ptemple: "We have a Governance Council which includes every province, territory as well as the federal govt and private sector broadcasters, CBC etc that provide direction and advice with regard to the alerting service." I think these government and private entities will be well aware of the capabilities of the Pelmorex system.
I understand that Pelmorex provides the critical capability to collect emergency messages, not just weather related, and distribute them to broadcasters and BDUs. If the system works well, the volunteer fire chief in a small community will have a phone number to call with emergency information when a tractor trailer carrying hazmat flips on the Trans-Canada highway outside town, and Pelmorex will get that information to broadcasters in the affected area. That is a very useful service and by itself is probably worth 23 cents a month.