A Manitoba community with a history of poor cell service has launched the emergency alert service through landline phones.

The Rural Municipality of Grey, which is located about 40 km southwest of Winnipeg, doesn’t have the infrastructure needed to take advantage of Canada’s Alert Ready emergency messaging system and thus had to focus their attention on finding a solution that does not rely on the developed systems in cities.

By turning to this new service – dubbed Connect – the Municipality of Grey says it will be able to provide automated emergency alerts to people without cellphones or adequate cell service.

It’s the first initiative of its kind in Canada, according to the municipality.

Approximately 30 million of the 37 million people living Canada own a cellphone according to Statista

“The ability to make landline phones ring is significant in rural and remote areas with limited cellular coverage. Furthermore, the messages can now get out to the elderly and those without a cellular phone,” said Ray Franzmann, the reeve of the Rural Municipality of Grey, in a press release.

Thirty-five per cent of all municipal governments in Manitoba have already been using Connect for other communication purposes and will now see the emergency alert feature added in the coming weeks.

Connect was developed in Winnipeg and is integrated with the national Alert Ready system. Testing was successfully conducted in late November.

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