FCC Seeks to Require Text-to-911 By End of the Year

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The Federal Communications Commission has adopted a Policy Statement that establishes a policy that all providers of text messaging services (including wireless carriers and interconnected over-the-top providers) should support text-to-911 in areas where 911 call centers can receive texts, and adopted a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) that proposes that this be accomplished by the end of 2014.  Noting that the nation’s four largest wireless carriers voluntarily committed to make text-to-911 available to their customers by May 15, 2014 in areas where the call center is prepared to receive texts, the FCC “encouraged” all wireless providers and other “interconnected” text providers to work with the public safety community to develop similar commitments to support text-to-911 “in a timely manner and to propose a solution for consideration by the FCC.”  The FNPRM seeks comment on the proposed year-end timeframe and several aspects of implementation, particularly related to the technical ability of interconnected text providers to comply with a text-to-911 mandate, as well as longer-term text-to-911 issues.

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