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AT&T teams up with the state of Tennessee to start text-to-911 trials


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Verizon's certainly at the forefront when it comes to involving text-based emergency services with mobile devices in the US, and thus it's natural for rival AT&T to have to keep up in this department -- much like with those Long Term Evolution rollouts. The good news is that AT&T has announced it's partnering with the Tennessee administration in hopes of taking advantage of the state's "next-generation" 911 IP infrastructure; one which has been in the works for a few years now. Naturally, the trials are limited to AT&T subscribers in The Volunteer State, and for those folks the text-to-911 process will be as self-explanatory as it sounds, with the Rethink Possible carrier taking care of all the backend work by sending such messages to emergency call services. While it's indeed only a small chunk of the country, it's definitely a step in the right direction -- that said, only time will tell how efficient this solution can be.

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AT&T and State of Tennessee to Launch Text to 9-1-1 Trial

Standards-Based Solution Will Enable AT&T Subscribers to Send Emergency Texts to 9-1-1 Statewide

DALLAS, Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- More and more, public safety agencies are embracing new technologies and IP-based networks to communicate with constituents in emergency situations. Over the past few years, the state of Tennessee has invested in an advanced, statewide 9-1-1 IP infrastructure, giving Tennesseans access to the best technology available to coordinate emergency responses. Today, AT&T* announced the state of Tennessee has approved the use of the state's new Emergency Service IP Network (ESInet) to support a Text to 9-1-1 trial statewide.

Under this trial, AT&T will work with the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board (TECB) to provide a Text to 9-1-1 trial service, allowing for emergency 9-1-1 Short Message Service (SMS) text messages from AT&T wireless subscribers to be received by Tennessee 9-1-1 call centers, known as public service answering points (PSAPs). The trial will use the existing ESInet and statewide IP network backbone (NetTN), key components in the state of Tennessee's Next-Generation 9-1-1 plan.

"In today's mobile environment, it's vital that Tennessee's public safety infrastructure keep pace," said Lynn Questell, Executive Director, TECB. "This trial with AT&T will build upon efforts to modernize and enhance our emergency communication network, leveraging new technologies to serve our citizens and work to ensure their safety."

While dialing 9-1-1 by phone remains the primary and preferred method to contact public safety agencies, the Text to 9-1-1 trial will enable PSAPs in Tennessee to begin receiving 9-1-1 SMS texts from AT&T wireless subscribers through the state's ESInet. The trial will allow PSAPs to develop best practices and methods to receive and integrate these types of emergency communications in the future.

The trial will utilize concepts and designs from key industry groups working on Text to 9-1-1 standards and will leverage the National Emergency Number Association's (NENA) i3 standards and recommendations.

"AT&T is committed to working with standard bodies, national, state, and local public safety organizations to determine how best to integrate SMS text messages and other advanced communications into future 9-1-1 systems and wireless networks," said Mel Coker, Vice President, Public Safety Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions. "This trial will be vital in evaluating Text to 9-1-1 solutions with the goal of providing reliable, universal access for our customers."

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

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