"Like, OMG, I need help NOW!!1!" In a move that the FCC chairman praised, Verizon has selected a vendor to help it implement its first-in-the-nation "text-to-911" service. The "text-to-911" service would allow people to contact emergency services (911) via text message. This opens the doors to providing better access to those with speaking or hearing disabilities.
"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."
Verizon is looking to deploy the new feature in select markets early next year. The option will be available to anyone who has a text-messaging-capable phone. FCC spokesperson Tammy Sun said Genachowski "commended the company for offering consumers another way to reach 911 that is consistent with how millions of consumers already use mobile devices in their daily lives."