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Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-64



RE: Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications, PS Docket
No. 11-153; Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket No. 10-255.
Some reports estimate as many as six billion text messages are exchanged each day in the U. S., and over
the past 20 years, this form of communications has become the most preferred means of telephonic
engagement for those aged 30 and under. Today’s mobile phone users probably take for granted, that
their nearest Public Safety Access Point (PSAP), just like their friends and family, are equipped to
support this type of dialogue. With most emergency centers, not only is this not the case, but today, a
sender has no way of knowing whether or not that distress message was ever received.
So I am pleased to commend Chairman Genachowski, for making a bounce back message requirement, an
important policy priority. The agency issued a Further Notice on this proposal in December 2012, and in
less than five months, we are adopting an Order and setting a date certain – September 30, 2013 – by
which all CMRS providers and interconnected text providers, must provide this capability. Specifically, a
bounce-back message will be required where text-to-911 is not supported either because the PSAP has not
yet implemented a text-to-911 capability, or because a covered text provider does not support this service.
This message will also be required when a PSAP has a temporary inability to accept text messages, for
example, due to a mass calling event.
This mechanism is particularly important, because while deployment of text-to-911 has already begun,
the migration to this service will not be uniform. It will be available in some geographic areas sooner
than in others, and as text-to-911 becomes more widely available, it is likely to generate increased
consumer expectations. Therefore, it is critical that consumers know when that service is not available
and a bounce back message will immediately alert a person in need of assistance to employ an alternative
means of notification.
Adopting the bounce back message requirement also fulfills Congressional intent in several statutes.
Section 106 of the Communications Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) requires the FCC to establish an
advisory committee -- the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) -- for the purpose of
“achieving equal access to emergency services by individuals with disabilities, as a part of the migration
to a national Internet protocol-enabled emergency network.” The plain language of the CVAA authorizes
the Commission “to promulgate regulations to implement the recommendations” proposed by the EAAC.
The EAAC recommended the bounce back message requirement because to give people with hearing or
speech disabilities, equal access to emergency communications during the migration to IP enabled
emergency networks. It will notify them when text to 9-1-1 does not work, making them aware that they
need to try TTY or relay services, in order to get help. For these reasons, the bounce back message is
well within the Commission’s authority under the CVAA. I also support the Order’s conclusion that this
requirement is consistent with the directives in Titles I and III of the Communications Act.
The four nationwide wireless carriers -- AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile – are to be commended for
voluntarily committing to providing this bounce back capability by June 30, 2013. This agreement will
accelerate deployment of this critical public safety communications to more than 90 percent of the
nation’s wireless consumers.
I also wish to thank David Turetsky, Sean Lev, and the talented staff in the Public Safety Homeland

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-64

Security Bureau and Office of General Counsel, for carefully examining the implementation issues and
providing us with an excellent Order.

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