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Your Phone in May 2014
The 21st century has brought us the smartphone and soon we’ll be using them to text (not just call) for emergency services. Four top U.S. mobile phone service companies have agreed to set up a service to allow people to send text messages to emergency aid call center 911, according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).
In 2010, text SMS messaging became the most popular form of communication, surpassing email and voice as the most used contact method.
While currently you reach emergency 911 services only through a phone call, the widespread use of text messaging has forced the FCC to implement changes to access services. The change will particularly help people with hearing or speech disabilities. This is great news!
AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications, Sprint Nextel Corp and T-Mobile have agreed to provide text-to-911 services, with major deployments expected in 2013, the FCC said in a statement. The service should be available nationwide by May 15, 2014.
“Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century and today, we are one step closer towards that vital goal,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.
The carriers have committed to provide an automatic “bounce back” text message by June 30, 2013 if text-to-911 is unavailable in their area. The message would tell users to make a voice call to a 911 center until the program is rolled out. So stay tuned for this and let’s hope none of us need to call emergency service for a long time.