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"Big 4" Carriers File First Quarterly Text-to-9-1-1 Reports, Deploy Bounce-Back Messaging

Wednesday, July 3, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Nussman
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Pursuant to the agreement reached in December 2012 between NENA, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, and APCO, the nation's four largest wireless carriers have submitted their first round of quarterly text-to-9-1-1 deployment progress reports.

Most significantly, as agreed to in December and under rules adopted by the FCC in May, bounce-back notifications are now being sent to wireless subscribers when text-to-9-1-1 is unavailable in their area. In areas where text-to-9-1-1 is not available, consumers will receive an immediate response that the service is not supported and to contact emergency services by another means, such as by making a voice call or using telecommunications relay services (if deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled) to access 9-1-1.

"This is an important milestone on the path to ubiquitous text-to-9-1-1 service," said NENA CEO Brian Fontes. "Due to the incremental nature of text-to-9-1-1 deployment, it is essential that the public be made aware of when and where text-to-9-1-1 is available. NENA thanks the FCC and the wireless carriers for taking this swift action that nearly eliminates the risk of citizens in need mistakenly believing that a text message for assistance has been received by 9-1-1 in areas where the service is unavailable."

Under the December agreement, text-to-9-1-1 service capabilities will be deployed throughout the carriers’ wireless networks by May 15, 2014. However, text-to-9 1 1 service availability will ultimately hinge on the deployment of hardware, software, and training at the more than 6,000 9-1-1 centers across America.