Verizon on Sunday announced plans to roll out its 911 short-code messages system to Emergency Response Centers (911) by early 2012.
Verizon announced that it has selected TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. to help with its 911 text messaging system which allowed custoemrs to send 911 SMS to call centers known as public-service answering points or PSAPs.
The company is still urging customers to use the traditional 911 voice calling however the company believes the new service will greatly benefit customers who are dear or hard of hearing and are therefore not able to place traditional voice calls.
According to Marjorie Hsu, Verizon Wireless vice president of technology, “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.” and “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.”
The service will start with access to Verizon Wireless customers who have a text-capable service plan since the SMS-to-911 network will run off the company’s own CDMA SMS network.
According to Maurice B. Tose, president and CEO of TCS:
“TeleCommunication Systems has worked closely with the FCC over the past two years to develop its innovative technology for SMS to 911,” and “As the preeminent U.S. supplier of SMS and pioneer in wireless E911, TCS is well positioned to enable Verizon in advancing its public safety commitment.”
After initial testing Verizon Wireless hopes to roll out the SMS-to-911 system on a nationwide level.