“Dial 911” – that seems to be the standard operating procedure for folks who are in a tight spot, especially if you’re in a medical emergency or a life threatening situation and need help, pronto! According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, there is a five step action plan which intends to make the transition to Next Generation 911 – where this new service will see support for text, photos, videos, and data support.

The whole idea behind this “upgraded” version of 911 would be to make sure that emergency response is part of a critical element of the broadband environment, where it will also assist in addressing requirements, timelines, costs, and governance when the NG911 is deployed over the next five to ten years. Of course, this new system does not mean that the legacy 9-1-1 system will no longer be supported – the latter will be for as long as is necessary throughout the transition phase.

Julius went on to say that “it’s hard to imagine that airlines can send text messages if your flight is delayed, but you can’t send a text message to 911 in an emergency. The unfortunate truth is that the capability of our emergency response communications has not kept pace with commercial innovation — has not kept pace with what ordinary people now do every day with communications devices.” Good to go – hopefully this new system is watertight as it rolls out soon.

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