Soon you’ll be able to text to request 911 emergency assistance. The Federal Communications Commission announced today that the big 4 U.S. wireless carriers – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile – have agreed to support the service nationwide by May 15, 2014. Most will roll out the service in 2013, and several tests have already taken place across the country.
The texting feature is meant to compliment existing 911 call centers, empowering millions of Americans with hearing or speech disabilities to request emergency assistance as well as those in a situation where a 911 phone call might endanger them. Future considerations for the program include expanding to include smaller regional carriers, as well as allow the transmission of photos and videos to 911 centers.
“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 chariman Julius Genachowski Genachowski said in a statement. This announcement, along with last week’s striking down of a class action lawsuits aimed an unsubscribe confirmation messages, represent an FCC that is eager to adapt to the chancing ways people and marketers communicate using their mobile devices.
Read the full Business Week article here.