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article imageCell phone providers to support text to 9–1–1 throughout 2014

By Robert Kingett     Jan 10, 2014 in Technology
Washington - For someone with a hearing or speech disability placing a call to 911 is very time consuming. The FCC have adopted previsions where people can now text 911 in an emergency.
Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device.
In the future, text-to-911 may be widely available in the United States. However, for now, the ability to contact 911 using text is only available on a limited basis in a few markets.
The FCC announced that the nation’s four largest wireless carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile — have agreed to accelerate the availability of text-to-911, with major deployments expected in 2013 and a commitment to nationwide availability by May 15, 2014. Building on text-to-911 deployments and trials that are already underway, this agreement will accelerate progress and ensure that over 90 percent of the nation’s wireless consumers, including millions of consumers with hearing or speech disabilities, will be able to access emergency services by sending a text message to 911, where local 911 call centers (known as a Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs) are also prepared to receive the texts.
Text-to-911 will provide consumers with enhanced access to emergency communications in
situations where a voice call could endanger the caller, or a person with disabilities is unable to make a voice call. Text-to-911 will be a complement to, not a substitute for, voice calls to 911 services, and consumers should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency if they can.
The FCC has rules to help keep consumers safe during the transition to text-to-911. These rules are intended to minimize the risk if consumers attempt to send text messages to 911 where the service is not available. All wireless telephone companies and certain other text messaging providers are required by the FCC to send an automatic "bounce-back" message to any consumer who tries to send a text message to 911 where this service is not yet available.
•Consumers who receive this "bounce-back" message will be advised to contact emergency services by another means, such as by making a voice call or using a telecommunications relay service (the latter for consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability)
•The nation's four largest wireless telephone companies — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon — have agreed to voluntarily begin sending these "bounce back" text messages across their networks as of June 30, 2013, a few months earlier than the September 2013 deadline established by the FCC's rules.
•To speed up the nationwide availability of text-to-911, the FCC has also proposed rules for public comment that would require all other wireless telephone companies and certain providers of text messaging applications to likewise provide text-to-911 by May 15, 2014 in all areas where a 911 call center is prepared to receive the texts
•Text-to-911 deployment will therefore happen gradually, depending in part on when local 911 call centers prepare their systems to receive texts
More about Accessibility, Cell phone, Disabilities, Emergency landing, deafness
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