While text-to-911 has been in the works for some time, it’s looking like Verizon is taking another step towards building a nationwide emergency SMS apparatus, as part of the Next Generation 911 (NG911) upgrades. Those changes are set to also include improved location data for 911 calls as well.
About a year ago, the Federal Communications Commission began proposing new rules to allow American residents to notify emergency services via text message. On Friday, the FCC praised Verizon for selecting a vendor, TeleCommunication Systems to help it build out the infrastructure. The service is expected to launch in 2013. Once complete, anyone in the United States with a cellphone will be able to text to the Public Safety Answering Points, as 911 call centers are formally known.
"Verizon is at the forefront of 911 public-safety innovations, and today’s announcement is another step in making SMS-to-911 service available to those who cannot make a voice call to 911," said Marjorie Hsu, Verizon Wireless vice president of technology, in an interview with The Hill.