Verizon and Annapolis, Md.-based TeleCommunications Systems Inc. are developing a system that could let users send text messages to 911 in situations where they cannot call, the companies have announced.
Developing a system for texting or sending photos to 911 has been an ongoing project between the Federal Communications Commission and private sector vendors.
Customers who cannot hear well, speak or call should be able to more easily tap public-service answering points, Verizon said.
As early as 2013, the company plans to roll out the texting capability with select public service answering points.
Only Verizon customers with text-capable service plans and phones will be able to use the service early on.
The company will work with TCS, the FCC and other state and federal agencies to develop the emergency communications services.
Such a service will only be possible with an infrastructure that can handle larger files and data streams, which some state and county agencies have been hesitant to produce thus far, according to GovWin.
The FCC has solicited industry comment to develop standards for a nationwide system similar to what Verizon is working to develop.
However, GovWin reports that the technologies are in their early adoption phase and may not be nationally implemented for a while.