FCC Adopts Rules To Help Consumers During Text-to-9-1-1 Transition
Monday, May 20, 2013
Posted by: Chris Nussman
Communications Commission has adopted rules requiring wireless carriers
and certain other text messaging providers to send an automatic "bounce-back”
text message to consumers who try to text 9-1-1 where text-to-9-1-1
service is not available. The FCC’s requirement will help protect the
public by substantially reducing the risk of consumers sending a text message to
9-1-1 and mistakenly believing that 9-1-1 authorities have received it.
Instead, consumers will receive an immediate response that text-to-9-1-1
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.
The FCC noted that
deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1, including text-to-9-1-1 service, has
begun,but the transition is still in the very early stages and will not
be uniform. During the transition, text-to-9-1-1 will be available in certain
geographic areas sooner than others and may be supported by some service
providers and 9-1-1 call centers but not others. In addition, as text-to-9-1-1
becomes more widely available, it is likely to raise consumer expectations
as to its availability, which makes it increasingly important for the
public to know when the service is not available in an
To address these
concerns, the FCC is requiring wireless carriers and "interconnected” text
message providers – that is, providers of software applications that
enable consumers to send text messages to and receive text messages from
all or substantially all text-capable U.S. telephone numbers – to implement
the bounce-back capability no later than September 30, 2013. This requirement
does not apply to certain text message applications that reach only a
defined set of users, such as those within games and social media.
Click here to read more from the FCC.