By Jim Bugel, AT&T Assistant Vice President of Public Safety and Homeland Security
Earlier today, my colleague, AT&T Vice President of Public Safety Solutions Mel Coker, announced at the NENA conference that AT&T will launch a trial for Text to 911 later this year with a goal for a nationwide launch in 2013.
AT&T has been working hard for many years with industry, public safety organizations and the disabilities community to understand the requirements for Text to 911 and we have selected a technically feasible and, more importantly, a technically neutral architecture that will provide the best and most reliable solution for our customers to reach emergency responders via text message. It was not an easy task but it was one that we were deeply committed to and we are delighted and proud that we will soon be bringing this service to the marketplace.
Here in Washington, we have also been working closely with policymakers in the area of next generation 911 (NG911). The FCC, under Chairman Genachowski, launched a proceeding to not only learn more about the opportunities in this space but also to better understand the technical challenges wireless carriers face in deploying reliable NG911 services on the SMS platform, which was never designed to handle time-sensitive communications during emergencies.
We’re currently in the process of working with many vendors on this new Text to 911 solution and we look forward to bringing you more updates as we get closer to our launch date. Stay tuned!