A vast majority of Americans use text messaging, but most Americans cannot reach 911 by text during an emergency.
The Federal Communications Commission wants to change that.
The five commissioners of the FCC voted unanimously Thursday to move forward a proposal that would make it mandatory for cellular carriers to make text-to-911 capabilities available by the end of the year. The four major carriers”“AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon — volunteered in 2012 to make text-to-911 available by May.
Text-to-911 could be a lifesaver for people with speech and hearing disabilities, and in domestic-abuse or home-intrusion situations.
Chairman Tom Wheeler said one deaf man told him, “This idea allows me to take control of my life.”
According to to a recent survey by Pew, 91 percent of Americans have a cell phone and 81 percent of those use it to send and receive text messages. Young Americans use their phones far more often to text than to make voice calls.
But enabling text-to-911 capabilities on cell phones is only half the battle. 911 call-centers also have to update technology to receive messages. Text-to-911 is currently only available in select areas around the country. The FCC does not have the authority to make 911 call centers, or public-safety answering points, accept text messages.
“The FCC has done its part,” said Wheeler. “Now its time for the [911 call-centers] to do their part.”
Even in places where text-to-911 is available, voice calls to 911 would remain the preferred method of reaching 911 because location tracking is more accurate.
What We're Following See More »
According to the most recent Gallup poll, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally disliked. The poll, conducted between July 18 and July 25, shows both major party candidates for president are viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 58 percent of respondents. This poll is bad news for Clinton, who has received better favorable and unfavorable ratings in nearly every poll over the last year.
The same day that Donald Trump encouraged Russia to hack the State Department and "find the 30,000 emails that are missing," the GOP nominee for vice president took a more serious approach. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences," Pence said in a statement. Trump's comments at a press conference this morning were rebuked by individuals across the political spectrum, while some on Trump's team, including prominent surrogate Newt Gingrich, have called his comments a "joke."
The Federal Open Market Committee today voted to leave interest rates alone, but "upgraded its assessment of the economy’s recent performance and said near-term risks to the outlook have diminished, effectively leaving the door open to raise rates later this year, possibly as early as September."
"Spurred by VP pick Mike Pence, a former congressman with close ties to many lawmakers, the Trump campaign in recent weeks has stepped up its courtship of wary Capitol Hill Republicans. And the efforts appear to be bearing fruit." Central to the charm offensive: invitations to more than a dozen "Senate and House members into his family’s private box for some power-schmoozing with him and his kids" during the Republican National Convention.
Donald Trump essentially encouraged more Russian espionage against Democrats in a press conference this morning. "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” That prompted Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan to say: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”