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NENA Statement on Carrier Deployment of Text-to-9-1-1 Capabilities

Friday, May 16, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Nussman
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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 networks.

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.

"It 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 or location.

"As the 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.

The 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.

"The 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.

However, 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.

"In short, call if you can, text if you can’t,” said Fontes.

A number of text-to-9-1-1 resources be found at