Verizon to offer texts to 911 by 2013

Verizon to offer texts to 911 by 2013
There are a number of legitimate reasons why someone in danger might not be able to call 911. The person might be hard of hearing or unable to speak, or perhaps the situation is just too dangerous for speaking to a 911 operator. There will be a solution soon as Verizon announced that it will be working with TeleCommunication Systems to allow its customers to send text messages to 911 centers by 2013. FCC spokesperson Tammy Sun was shining about the plan saying that the agency, "commended the company for offering consumers another way to reach 911 that is consistent with how millions of consumers already use mobile devices in their daily lives."

Back in 2010, the FCC itself said that it wanted to bring 911 into the Digital Age by offering SMS service. Outside of asking for ideas and exhorting the carriers on, nothing really has come of the FCC's involvement. For some time, there has been a need to update 911 services to allow those with low battery strength or a poor wireless signal, to summon help. In 2009, two girls stuck in as storm drain updated their Facebook status before seeking emergency help. In another case, a man sent out a tweet to report that a woman was having a seizure because he did not have enough battery life to make a call.

Verizon will be using its current CDMA SMS network to handle the texts to 911 and the service will be available to all Verizon customers sporting a phone that supports text messages and have a service plan that includes text messaging. Ironically, back in January 2011 during a snowstorm in Washington D.C., 8300 calls to 911 on the Verizon network in the area failed which led to an FCC probe.

source: VentureBeat via Engadget


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