Verizon plans to launch ‘text-to-911’ feature by early 2013

verizon plans to launch text 911 feature by early 2013 dispatch

As mentioned by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Friday and reported by Bloomberg, Verizon is planning to launch the first ‘text-to-911’ service in the United States within the next twelve months. Verizon Wireless users will be able to contact a 911 call center with a simple text message and request help for an emergency situation. Particularly useful for hearing-impaired users, this will also help people that have poor wireless reception for a voice call or are simply running out of battery power on their phone. In order to kick off the project, Verizon has selected a vendor, TeleCommunication Systems Inc., that will help the company perform the necessary software and hardware upgrades to roll out the new feature.

textingIn regards to the ‘text-to-911’ upgrade, Verizon Wireless vice president of technology Marjorie Hsu stated “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.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.”

In order to take advantage of the ‘text-to-911’ feature, a Verizon Wireless customer will need to own a phone capable of sending text messages in addition to paying for a monthly service plan that covers text messages. The company plans to roll out the feature to select metropolitan areas during the first six months of 2013 before launching the service across the entire nation.  

The United States has lagged behind other countries in regards to the launch of this feature. For instance, residents of the UK can register their phone with the EmergencySMS service and send a text message to local emergency services. While the feature is specifically designed for deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people, it’s definitely helpful for anyone that’s in a dangerous situation and is unable to talk over the phone.

emergency servicesIndividual states and cities within the U.S. have tried to upgrade their emergency systems to offer ‘text-to-911’ capabilities, but progress has been slow. For instance, New York City’s mayor Bloomberg has promised the ‘text-to-911’ upgrade for the last four years, but technology issues and budget constraints have got in the way of the upgrades. 

Last year, the FCC chairman announced plans to upgrade the entire nation’s emergency systems to accept text messages as well as video and photos, but progress on that initiative has been sluggish as well. If the plan is eventually approved by Congress, smartphone owners will also be able to transmit location data to emergency services assuming the phone is enabled with GPS hardware.

However, the FCC is also mandating that GPS hardware has to be included in all wireless phones by 2018, thus the majority of mobile phone owners would be in a position to send their location to 911 services and potentially speed up the response time of the police department, fire department or medical services. Verizon hasn’t specifically indicated how much information will be sent with emergency text messages over its ‘text-to-911’ service.


Strapped after your latest smartphone purchase? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Project Fi.
Home Theater

Don't need sports or local channels? Philo can save you some dough

Philo is a super-affordable live TV streaming service, with an impressive channel list and feature set. With more hardware support and greatly improved TV Everywhere features, the service is now even easier to recommend.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.

Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon offers lots of plans for individuals, your family, and folks who want prepaid service. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's plans, from data packages and smartphones to Big Red's prepaid plans.

The OnePlus 6T is coming a day earlier, event moved to October 29

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.

Sprint now lets you add Hulu's Live TV service to your unlimited plan

Sprint recently introduced three new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic , Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…

Sams's Club offers $100 gift cards for iPhone XR pre-orders

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.

It’s about time! A USB-C magnetic charger for the Apple Watch has finally arrived

While most of the buzz surrounding Apple has been about the iPhone XR, the company also introduced a new Apple Watch accessory. Starting October 24, a USB-C magnetic charger will be available for purchase.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Product Review

Amazon’s child-friendly tablet is the complete package

Kids are tough on electronics and it’s difficult to police screen time and manage what they’re doing. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition could be the affordable answer to your prayers, with a rugged case and worry-free warranty.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. P20 Pro: Which 2018 Huawei flagship is best for you?

If you're tempted by Huawei's latest flagship, the Mate 20 Pro, but you're uncertain how it differs from the P20 Pro which Huawei released earlier this year, then we have you covered. Find out exactly what sets these two phones apart.
Product Review

Simple, smart, and affordable, Google’s USB-C earbuds are a must-buy

Google’s follow-up to its wireless Pixel Buds are the wired Google Pixel USB-C earbuds. It’s the simpler route, but the earbuds are still smart, deliver good sound, and -- best of all -- they’re affordable.

How to take great photos with the iPhone XS, Apple’s finest camera phone yet

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max feature the best cameras yet seen on an Apple smartphone, ready for you to get out and take great photos. Here's our guide to help ensure each shot you take is a winner.