FCC Planning to Overhaul 911 System to Accept SMS/MMS Messages
The Federal Communications Commission is planning to introduce changes to the existing 911 emergency calling system in order to accommodate modern communication tools. The biggest change to the system would allow citizens to send text, picture, and video messages to 911 operators during emergencies. The 911 system was devised in 1968, and now 70% of all calls to 911 are made from mobile phones. The 911 system was last overhauled in 2001, when it required wireless network operators to include the location data of mobile callers. The FCC believes that text, picture and video messages could help in situations when the caller can't speak as well as provide much needed intelligence to first responders. The FCC hasn't provided specific details on how its plan might be implemented. In August 2009, Black Hawk County in Iowa was the first to begin accepting text messages in its 911 system, though it was limited to just one mobile operator.
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