Text-to-911 service soon to be available in King County

The new rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission followed an announcement by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and two national 9-1-1 associations that they will begin major deployments of text-to-911 service in 2013, with nationwide availability by May 15, 2014.

The FCC is seeking comment from carriers and third-party messaging providers as to whether this timeframe is achievable.

If text-to-911 service is not available in an area, the four major phone carriers have agreed to implement automated “bounce back” error messages. This capability will be in place by June 30, 2013.

King County has been working to upgrade the countywide Enhanced 9-1-1 system to Next Generation 9-1-1 technology for the past several years.

All of the 9-1-1 centers throughout King County already have the equipment necessary to receive text-to-911, so they will be ready to receive text messages as soon as wireless carriers offer the service.

King County’s E-911 Program Office is conducting a Next Generation 9-1-1 pilot project to test various components of the new technology.

For more information about the FCC proposal, visit

For more information about the King County E-911 Program, visit


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