Verizon Wireless is rolling out a 911 texting service that would allow its customers to send a 911 text message if they're unable to make a voice call.

Verizon chose TeleCommunication Systems Inc. of Annapolis, Md., to develop a system allowing 911 SMS (Short Message Service) texts to reach call centers, known as public-service answering points, or PSAPs.

This enhanced SMS service is geared toward Verizon customers who are deaf or hard of hearing or who could be placed in additional danger by speaking.

The company is working on plans to make the new capabilities available to select PSAPs by early 2013. Verizon plans to use its existing CDMA SMS network for 911 text notifications.

Verizon has been working with others in the communications industry, PSAPs, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal and state agencies to deploy this new service.

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