NEW YORK (CNN) -

A new emergency alert system that sends notifications to cell phones in the event of a disaster or terrorist attack will be implemented in New York and Washington by the end of this year, officials said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday unveiled PLAN, the Personal Localized Alerting Network, which is expected to provide residents with timely information "alerting them to imminent safety threats in their area."

Mobile phone users will receive "geographically targeted, text-like messages," according to a written statement from the Federal Communications Commission.

The network was made possible by the Warning Alert and Response Network Act passed by Congress in 2006.

It is expected to be expanded to the rest of the country by April 2012, according to commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.

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