911The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a rule that would require all text message providers to support emergency texts to 911 by the end of the year. “While voice calling to 911 remains the preferred method, consumers also expect to be able to send a text to 911 and have it reach authorities,” the commission says in a press release. The four major carriers, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T, voluntarily committed back in late 2012 to make text-to-911 available everywhere by May 15th, 2014. So far the capability has been deployed in patches, with Verizon leading the pack, covering more than two dozen cities as well as the entire states of Maine and Vermont. The FCC’s announcement seems intended to put pressure on the big four to follow through on their commitment as well as prompt action from smaller carriers and internet-based text messenger services.

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