New details have confirmed that the big 4 US phone carriers have agreed to rollout a brand new service in a joint effort with the 911 Association (NENA) that will allow text-to-911 emergency services. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and the Now Network have all agreed to offer this come 2014. With text messages being such a huge part of daily life we’re surprised this didn’t happen sooner.
Apparently the agreement and plan between all four major US carriers and the 911 association has been shipped off to the FCC for approval, and should be seen this month to get things started. Apparently back in May Verizon was dabbling with the idea, but this is a full on agreement by all four carriers to work together and offer this service to all their subscribers.
NENA’s President Barbara Jaeger offered this statement. “As the public becomes more mobile and embraces new methods for communicating, 9-1-1 has to be ready to answer non-voice requests for assistance. This historic agreement demonstrates the shared commitment of parties to serve the evolving needs of citizens in the digital age.”
Plans to launch the service are aiming for early 2014 with the initial rollout complete by May. There will be a bounce-back system in place for regions not yet supported as 911 call centers will need to have required equipment and training to complete this new option. Obviously placing a call for help or emergencies is obviously the best and fastest way to proceed, but this service will be great for hearing impaired as well as those scary situations where silence is needed. This is a good first step by wireless carriers, I’m just surprised this hasn’t been fully implemented sooner. Thoughts on text-to-911 services?