FCC lays out plan for texting 9-1-1 messages
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Consumers will be able to text and send multimedia messages to 9-1-1 emergency call centers under a new plan from the top communications regulator.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski unveiled a plan on Wednesday to help emergency response communications catch up to the technically advanced mobile devices people use everyday.
"It's hard to imagine that airlines can send text messages if your flight is delayed, but you can't send a text message to 9-1-1 in an emergency," Genachowski said.
The FCC is expected to propose rules in September that will address the technical issues behind enabling text, photo and video transmissions to 9-1-1.
Of particular concern to the agency will be ensuring that the country's broadband infrastructure can handle the bandwidth that new public safety answering points will need.
An FCC official said widespread next-generation 9-1-1 services could be available in the next five to 10 years if the FCC acts and adequate funding is made available for equipment upgrades.
The FCC is also looking at ways to more quickly get the texting component operational.
Next-generation 9-1-1 services will allow first responders to better assess emergencies with the ability to see photos and videos of an accident while still enroute. The IP-based infrastructure will also bring more reliability to the 9-1-1 network compared with the current circuit-switched system.
(Editing by Philip Barbara)
- White House reverses, says Obama met uncle and lived with him during law school
- U.S. television, Twitter, alive with new version of 'Sound of Music'
- South Africans, some fearful, wake to life without Mandela |
- RPT-UPDATE 1-Ford leans on global Mustang to burnish overseas image
- Ford leans on global Mustang to burnish overseas image
Revered by millions as a beacon of hope against oppression and as an archetype of reconciliation, Nelson Mandela leaves behind a grieving nation. Video