NewImageThe Federal Communications Commission today announced a proposal that would extend a previous agreement requiring wireless carriers to allow their users to send SMS messages to 911 call centers. The proposal would extend the requirement from simple SMS texting to "over-the-top" messaging services like Apple's iMessage.

The four major American carriers, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, have already agreed to make the SMS-to-911 feature nationwide by May 15, 2014.

By adding support for "over-the-top" messaging services, the FCC believes it can help keep pace with how people use their phones as users turn more to text messages rather than phone calls. Additionally, the text-to-911 feature could assist deaf users, as well as those in home invasion or other situations where making a voice call could be dangerous.

Today’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking anticipates that all wireless carriers, as well as providers of "over the top" text messaging that use IP-based or SMS protocols to deliver text messages to destinations identified by a telephone number, will be required to deploy text-to-911 and to provide "bounce back" messages where text-to-911 is not yet available. While more than 90 percent of smartphone users currently use SMS as their form of text messaging, we are taking forward-looking action given the growth of Internet-based text messaging. The Further Notice also tees up for resolution key issues including standards deployment and service deployment, location accuracy, cost recovery, carrier liability.

iMessage allows people to link their phone numbers with the service and it could be used to text 911 call centers, instead of using SMS messaging as a fallback. If 911 call centers don't support text-to-911 in a particular area, users would receive "bounce back" messages to advise them to call 911 via the traditional message.

As of now, this is just a proposal, not an official action, and that there is no set timetable from the FCC.

Top Rated Comments

Schmitty11 Avatar
128 months ago
Why would ANYONE complain about this?

Oh, i think it's great, but this is macrumors. Someone is always unhappy about every story.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JtheLemur Avatar
128 months ago
[ halp i r bein murdered send crops asap omg ]

[ *cops ]

[ 911: got ur msg cops otw ]

[ 911: hey running a lil late theyll c u soon tho ]
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wikus Avatar
128 months ago
Lets the complaints begin....

Why would ANYONE complain about this?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nagromme Avatar
128 months ago
leg cut off LOL ;D

other leg now!!! ROFL

C U soon?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Codyak Avatar
128 months ago
It'll be amazing when it's released. Why in the world would anyone text 911?

"Omg I'm being killed. Pls help me. :( AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"
It's the frown face that will let them know you're serious.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dainin Avatar
128 months ago
If there isn't an iMessage target it just sends a text message anyway. While I think it is great someone is actually forward thinking, I think in the case of iMessage it doesn't really make sense.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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