FCC to Allow 911 via SMS Texting
The FCC is seeking to overhaul the 911 system, enabling users to send text messages and live videos directly to emergency call centers.
This would be the first upgrade to 911 since 2001, when the FCC mandated that mobile carriers must allow 911 to identify the caller's location using GPS or cell-tower information. The 911 service was established in 1968, and handles more than 230 million calls a year, reported Ryan Singel of Wired.
In a press release, the FCC pointed to the tragic shooting spree on the Virginia Tech campus as an example of how 911 could benefit from receiving texts and real-time videos.
"During the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting, students and witnesses desperately tried to send texts to 9-1-1 that local dispatchers never received. If these messages had gone through, first responders may have arrived on the scene faster with firsthand intelligence about the life-threatening situation that was unfolding," the release said.
Along with text and video, the FCC is looking to allow 911 to receive emergency notifications by sensors , including home and car alarm systems and chemical detection sensors, Singel wrote.
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