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Verizon To Begin Offering "Text To 911" Service 194

An anonymous reader writes "In a move that will likely elicit a 'why didn't they implement that sooner?' response, Verizon in the next 12 months will begin implementing a 'text to 911' feature that, as the name implies, will enable users contact 911 operators via text message to report an emergency. The feature will be particularly helpful for the hearing and/or speech impaired, and for folks who find themselves in dangerous situations where making a voice 911 call isn't advisable. Beginning in early 2013, Verizon will start rolling out the feature in various metropolitan areas before progressing to a nationwide rollout soon thereafter. In many respects, this move has been a long time coming, and something the FCC has been championing for a few years."
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Verizon To Begin Offering "Text To 911" Service

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  • Re:Indeed! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2012 @11:59AM (#39916199)
    It's not a monopoly, it's an oligopoly. Your statement still applies, though.
  • by JoshRosenbaum ( 841551 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @12:45PM (#39916741) Homepage
    As mentioned below, I think we have Enhanced 9-1-1 [] (E911). This allows emergency services to access GPS information on the phone if the user calls 911. I would imagine a text would allow the same thing or could send location info in the text.
  • by Krischi ( 61667 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @01:11PM (#39917041) Homepage

    Location accuracy isn't good enough just to make a voice call and hope for the best without further communication. A case like this was recently documented by the Seattle authorities, where the location was off by four blocks, and the disabled victim was only saved by the fact that the parents were able to call 9-1-1 and give the precise location.

    Most deaf and hard of hearing people do not use TTYs anymore. Many now use video and captioned telephone relay services, but 9-1-1 calls through relay services suck, to put it mildly. Call routing doesn't work well for these situations, and there are many documented cases of introducing 5-10 minute delays before the call is finally connected to the emergency responders. Compare that to sub-10 second response times for the majority of voice calls.

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