Top Carriers Commit To Offering Text-to-911 Service

By May 15, 2014, all four of the nation's top wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile) will support emergency texting. U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said all four of these carriers have committed to major deployments of text-to-911 in 2013. The rollout is scheduled to be available nationwide by May 15, 2014.

As a result of the agreement between the Federal Communications Commission and these wireless carriers, more than 90 percent of the nation's mobile customers will be able to contact emergency services using text messaging. The service is designed to compliment, not replace, voice calls to 911 services.

"Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century -- and today, we are one step closer toward that vital goal," Genachowski said in a statement.

In areas where the service is not available, the carriers have committed to sending automatic bounce-back text messages to let consumers know if their attempt to reach 911 using a text message was unsuccessful. These messages will be available by July 2013.

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Tags:  smartphone, FCC, texting, text