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NENA Applauds FCC's Action on Texting to 9-1-1
NENA strongly applauds the Federal Communications Commission’s adoption, on Aug. 8th, of a Report and Order requiring all cellular service providers and interconnected “over the top” SMS text messaging application providers to deploy SMS text-to-9-1-1 capabilities throughout their networks by December 31, 2014 and to deliver service to requesting 9-1-1 centers by June 30, 2015, or six months from the date of the request, whichever is later.
NENA also appreciates the Commission’s adoption of a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that addresses text-to-9-1-1 location accuracy. This will provide an opportunity to ensure that improved location information for text-to-9-1-1 benefits Next Generation 9-1-1.
Today's action by the Commission underscores the value of alternative means of communicating to 9-1-1 in times of emergencies. SMS texting will be in the marketplace for years to come. Enabling SMS text-to-9-1-1 will undoubtedly benefit many wireless consumers who primarily, or solely, rely on texting as their means of communication. Millions of our citizens are deaf, hard of hearing, and/or speech-impaired. Unfortunately, for those who find themselves in dangerous situations, texting to 9-1-1 is sometimes the safer – or only – option.
The Commission's action is an essential part of the process of bringing the option of texting to 9-1-1 to reality. Much more needs to be done. Leaders at the state, county, community, and 9-1-1 center level must do their part, too. These leaders can ensure funding and priorities – including training within 9-1-1 centers – are in place to enable 9-1-1 centers to receive text messages.
The cooperative effort to deploy text-to-9-1-1 has already saved lives and paved the way for today’s action that will undoubtedly benefit all Americans by improving 9-1-1’s abilities to provide lifesaving services no matter how citizens choose to reach out for help. NENA thanks our partners at APCO and the nation’s four largest carriers, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, for joining us in the voluntary agreement on texting to 9-1-1 reached in 2012.
- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via NENA, 8/8/14)