NENA Statement on Carrier Deployment of Text-to-9-1-1 Capabilities
Friday, May 16, 2014
Posted by: Chris Nussman
May 15 marked the historic
implementation date for the four largest U.S. wireless carriers to deploy text-to-9-1-1 capabilities for their
Although this feature
offers callers a strong new tool to reach out during an emergency if they are
unable to place a traditional voice call, text-to-9-1-1 may not be functional
for all consumers just yet.
is very important for the public to recognize that the May 15 implementation
date for carriers does not mean that text-to-9‑1‑1 service will available to
all consumers on that day,” cautioned Brian Fontes, CEO of NENA – The 9-1-1
Association. "Text-to-9-1-1 availability
will ultimately depend on funding and the deployment of hardware, software, and
training programs at the nearly 6,000 9-1-1 centers across America, and
progress will vary from one community to the next.”
The text-to-9-1-1 capability is
particularly useful for over 40 million Americans who are deaf, hard of
hearing, or have speech disabilities. Text-to-9-1-1
also offers potentially life-saving advantages to callers in domestic abuse
situations or tragedies like school shootings, who cannot voice their situation
public becomes more mobile and embraces new methods for communicating, 9-1-1 also
has to be ready to answer non-voice requests for assistance,” said Fontes.
May 15 deadline for carriers to support
requests for text-to-9-1-1 service was originally fixed by voluntary agreement
among NENA, APCO, Verizon. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in December 2012.
deployment of text-to-9-1-1 capabilities across the 'big 4’ carrier networks is
a product of collaborative efforts between the carriers, FCC, and public
safety, demonstrating the shared commitment of all parties to meeting the
evolving needs of citizens in the digital age,” said Fontes.
Fontes urged that the best way to
reach 9-1-1 is still through voice communications whenever possible, even in
areas supporting text-to-9-1-1 service.
short, call if you can, text if you can’t,” said Fontes.
A number of text-to-9-1-1
resources be found at www.nena.org/text-resources.