4 major phone carriers providing text-to-911

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(AP/PIX11) — In a big step toward moving the nation’s emergency dispatch system out of voice-only technology that dates to the 1960s, four major wireless phone companies are now providing text-to-911 services to local governments that want it.

Sprint, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile began offering the service to local governments this month and it’s being used in 16 states, including New York and Pennsylvania.

The FCC has required all wireless providers to offer the service by the end of the year.

The chief executive of the Virginia-based National Emergency Number Association calls it a big deal.

Brian Fontes said it’s important that the nation’s 911 centers are equipped with technology to provide information to emergency responders.

In New York, six counties are equipped to handle texted requests for help:

  • Chemung
  • Monroe
  • Montgomery
  • Oneida
  • Onondaga
  • Steuben

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