AT&T has begun working with public safety agencies in Tennessee to determine the best way to allow citizens to send SMS/text messages to 911 systems.
AT&T will work with the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board (TECB) to provide a "text to 911" trial service that would allow AT&T wireless users to send text messages to Tennessee 911 call centers, which are known as public service answering points (PSAPs).
The trial will use the existing ESInet and statewide IP network backbone (NetTN), which are key components in Tennessee's plan for next-generation 911.
While dialing 911 by phone remains the primary and preferred method to contact public safety agencies, the text-to-911 trial will enable PSAPs in Tennessee to begin receiving 911 SMS texts from AT&T wireless subscribers via ESInet. The trial will allow PSAPs to develop best practices and methods to receive and integrate these types of emergency communications in the future.
Over the past few years, Tennessee has invested in an advanced, statewide 911 IP (Internet Protocol) infrastructure. The text-to-911 trial will utilize concepts and designs from key industry groups working on text-to-911 standards and will leverage the National Emergency Number Association's (NENA) i3 standards and recommendations, according to AT&T.