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The FCC has said in the past that it was looking into allowing text messages to be sent to 911 services, and last year the agency even laid out a five-step plan that it'd use to put such a project into action. Now Verizon has announced that it's getting in on the 911 texting movement by starting work on its own initiative that'll allow its subscribers to send SMS messages to 911 call centers. Verizon says that it's partnering with TeleCommunication Systems Inc. on the project and that it expects to make the service available to select call centers by early 2013. The service will use Verizon's existing CDMA SMS network, and customers with both a text-capable phone and a text messaging plan will be able to take part.

Making a voice call to 911 would likely be the ideal way to contact a call center for help, but there are some situations in which a person can't make a call, like if they're deaf or hard of hearing or if the situation simply doesn't allow for the caller to speak. Being able to send a text message to a 911 call center would come in handy in those circumstances, and it's good to see that more work is being done to make sending texts to 911 centers possible. You can find Verizon's full announcement down below.

Verizon Selects TeleCommunication Systems To Provide Text To 911 National Gateway Solution

New Service Will Enable Customers to Send 911 Short-Code Messages to Emergency Response Centers

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May 3, 2012

EmailPrint   BASKING RIDGE, NJ Demonstrating its continued commitment to advancing public safety, Verizon Wireless is taking steps toward offering many of its customers a new way to communicate with 911 call centers run by public safety officials. The company announced today that it has selected TeleCommunication Systems Inc., of Annapolis, Md., to participate in an initiative that will enable customers to send 911 SMS (Short Message Service) texts to the call centers, which are known as public-service answering points, or PSAPs.

While consumers should always first try to contact a 911 center by making a voice call, this enhanced SMS service, when deployed, will offer an alternative for customers on the Verizon Wireless network who are deaf or hard of hearing and cannot make voice calls or who could be placed in additional danger by speaking.

“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. “Our company is continuing its long-standing commitment to address the needs of public safety and our customers by offering another way to get help in an emergency by using wireless technology.”

The company is working on plans to make the new capabilities available to select PSAPs by early 2013. Verizon plans to use its existing CDMA SMS network for 911 text notifications. The new service will be offered to Verizon Wireless customers who have a text-capable phone and a service plan that includes text messaging.

“TeleCommunication Systems has worked closely with the FCC over the past two years to develop its innovative technology for SMS to 911,” said Maurice B. Tosé, president and CEO of TCS. “As the preeminent U.S. supplier of SMS and pioneer in wireless E911, TCS is well positioned to enable Verizon in advancing its public safety commitment.”

Verizon is working with others in the communications industry, PSAPs, the Federal Communications Commission and other federal and state agencies in the eventual deployment of this new service aimed at giving consumers new ways to communicate with designated public safety agencies.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with 93 million retail customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 192,000. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

VERIZON’S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high-quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon’s News Center on the World Wide Web at www.verizon.com/news. To receive news releases by email, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.

TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS) (NASDAQ: TSYS) is a world leader in highly reliable and secure mobile communication technology. TCS infrastructure forms the foundation for market leading solutions in E9-1-1, text messaging, commercial location and deployable wireless communications. TCS is at the forefront of new mobile cloud computing services providing wireless applications for navigation, hyper-local search, asset tracking, social applications and telematics. Millions of consumers around the world use TCS wireless apps as a fundamental part of their daily lives. Government agencies utilize TCS' cyber security expertise, professional services, and highly secure deployable satellite solutions for mission-critical communications. Headquartered in Annapolis, MD, TCS maintains technical, service and sales offices around the world. To learn more about emerging and innovative wireless technologies, visit www.telecomsys.com.

Via Phone Scoop


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