The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to move forward with a demand that cell carriers start offering nationwide text-to-911 service by the end of the year.
“For the millions of Americans who live with hearing and speech challenges, SMS and over-the-top texting services are invaluable,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn in a statement. “They also help in situations when a voice call to 9-1-1 might be dangerous (such as during a home invasion), or when voice calls are being blocked due to unusual network congestion.”
Currently, only a few select areas in the U.S. are served by text-to-911 service. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are all on track to make text-to-911 service available everywhere nationwide by May 15, 2014. This new FCC rule would ensure smaller carriers are also on board, eliminating gaps in coverage and making text-to-911 universal.
[911 on mobile phone via Shutterstock]