The United States may finally be ready for the next generation of 911 communications. With the FCC’s recent announcement that NG911 will be available in 2014, states and organizations are getting ready for implementation. With the state of Maine and four major mobile providers jumping on the NG911 bandwagon, NG911 will easily become a part of our near future.
Texting to 911 has been a part of emergency communications discussions for quite some time. In fact, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been talking about it since 2010. Ever since the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, the FCC has been trying to implement a system in which all types of mobile communications could be accepted by 911 operators.
According to Governing, in 2013, the NG911 program will be launched in certain parts of the country, and by 2014 the U.S. can expect a full nationwide implementation. With this announcement, four major cell providers, including T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have all agreed to allow texting to 911. In areas where NG911 is not available yet, a bounce back message will be sent to the user, telling them that they must call 911 in order to receive a response.
For these mobile providers, making the switch to NG911 is no easy task. Techzone 360 reported that the upgrade will be a complete overhaul of the system. Now, the architecture will have to be IP-based instead of being circuit-switched. This switch will allow different types of data to be transmitted to a 911 call center. However, the end result will undoubtedly be worth it.
Texting to 911 has obvious benefits. However, some aren’t as obvious as others. In particular, the service will be beneficial to those who have speech or hearing disabilities. While in the past, they have had to use TTYs (text telephones) or TTDs (text devices), these systems are known for their inaccuracy. Now, they’ll be able to use the same system as everyone else, while ensuring that their message is received clearly.
The state of Maine is recognizing the many benefits early on, and wanted to be one of the first states to implement it. According to Fierce Telecom, now Maine’s new system will allow voice, instant messaging, video and text messaging. The system will be completely compliant with National Emergency Number Association (NENA) standards, making new communications possible on an entirely new level.
Soon, NG911 will become a part of our emergency communications, creating an easier system for everyone to benefit from. By 2014, the U.S. will be communicating more quickly and accurately, all with the help of the FCC’s program. Ask Capture Technologies how you can implement NG911 as well. We are dedicated to creating easy-to-use solutions.