The four largest cell phone carriers in the U.S. recently agreed to offer text-to-911 service by summer 2014. It will not automatically be provided to consumers, however. Each public safety answering point (PSAP) in America will need to issue their own request and wait up to six months for the carriers to begin providing the service. Both carriers and public safety officials are also planning to educate the public on how to use the new service before it is rolled out.
- Text-to-911 service will be deployed starting in 2013 and will hopefully be available nationwide by May 2014.
- Users will receive bounce-back notifications if PSAPs do not receive their texts.
Food for Thought
- This is a necessary tool for the hearing and speech disabilities community, who have been requesting this service for some time. Text-to-911 will also help protect individuals who are unable to talk in an emergency, such as during a home invasion.
- While it’s great that the four largest carriers are going to offer this service, PSAPs will still need to be updated in order to support the new technology. Who will be responsible for that? Will it affect the development or funding of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN)?