The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted rules requiring text messaging providers to enable Americans to text 911 in an emergency. Building on comments made by America's four largest wireless carriers to support text-to-911 by May, the new rules will ensure that all remaining wireless carriers and certain IP-based text application providers are prepared to support text-to-911 by year-end. After that time, if a 911 call centre requests text-to-911, text messaging providers will have six months to deploy the service in that area.
The Commission's text-to-911 requirements apply to wireless carriers and "interconnected" text messaging providers. This includes providers of "over the top" applications that supports texting to and from phone numbers but not, for example, messaging apps that only support communication among users of games or social media.
The Commission also adopted at Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on the continued evolution of text-to-911, including the delivery of location information and support for text-to-911 when roaming.
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