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EAAC Interim Text to 911 Working Group Presentation January 11, 2013

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Released: January 14, 2013
Interim Text to 911 Working Group
January 11, 2013
Brian Daly, AT&T
Gregg Vanderheiden, TRACE

Interim Text to 911

This group is charged with developing a recommendation and draft language for
the full committee with regard to Pre-NG911 Mobile Text to 911 Solution(s).

Here are the provisions from the EAAC recommendations that relate to our work.
– Text-to-911 before NG911 enabled
– Recommendation T1.2: Interim Mobile Text Solution:
– The EAAC recommends that the FCC work with Department of Justice,
industry, academia, consumer groups and public safety entities to develop an
interim solution that can be rapidly deployed to provide nationwide access to
9-1-1 services through industry standards-based mobile text communications
solution(s) to provide critical coverage for this important constituency during
the transition to NG9-1-1.

Work Group Progress
• Calls have been held by Interim text to 911 subcommittee
– Focus areas:
• User/Originating Device
• Originating Networks
• Transport Networks
• PSAP End
• What is delivered today:
– The Subcommittee/Working Group is delivering to the full EAAC
its draft consensus report as completed by the working group

This report is a consensus report from the working group and

submitted to the EAAC as a draft report for consideration

Summary of Subcommittee Draft
• The ability to text 9-1-1 is key to ensure that 9-1-1 remains
accessible to people with disabilities, who are unable to
make a voice call to 9-1-1, and to address situations where
making a voice call is not possible
• Considered questions around:
– user needs and constraints for text-to-9-1-1, the role of
originating networks and devices
– characteristics of the transport networks between the
originating networks and the 9-1-1 PSAPs
– PSAP administrative and operational considerations

Summary of Subcommittee Draft
• Based on a detailed investigation of these questions,
the Working Group developed a set of
recommendations for accessible Text-to-911 in the
following areas:
– General recommendations for Text-to-911
– Recognized Features of SMS-based Text-to-911
– Policy Considerations for Near-term Text-to-911 Service
– Public Education
– Future Considerations – Next Steps

Summary of Subcommittee Draft
• Adoption and application of these recommendations will
need to be determined through the appropriate rulemaking
and standards development processes
• Some of the recommendations may require further
research and development of technical standards, best
practices or guidelines, before they can be applied
– Public expectations, including individuals with disabilities, for 9-
1-1 emergency communications should be taken into
consideration where further research and development may be

Draft Working Group Report

Executive Summary

1 Overview
2 User Needs and Constraints
2.1 User experience
3 Originating Devices and Network
4 Transport Networks including TCC

Draft Working Group Report
5 PSAP end
6 National Interim Text and Vendor
Proprietary Solutions
7 Education and Outreach
8 Recommendations

Draft Working Group Report

Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B: Use Cases for SMS-based text-to-


General Recommendations
• As a near term and interim solution, users prefer direct access to a PSAP
(i.e. “Text-to-911” without third party involvement) via native mobile short
message service (“SMS”). Other text-based communication technologies,
such as e-mail, real-time text (“RTT”) and instant message (“IM”) (i.e.
“Over the Top”/third party text messaging services), should be evaluated
for feasibility of providing direct access to a PSAP
• Utilizing the existing standards-based mobile SMS network architectures
and capabilities currently offered by wireless service providers to wireless
subscribers, with minimal modifications or alterations, would be the most
technically and economically feasible way to ensure rapid deployment of
SMS-based Text-to-911.

General Recommendations
• All Text-to-911 solutions, including native SMS-based and “Over the
Top”/third party text messaging services, should utilize a standards-
based approach based on the C/E gateway architecture in order to
minimize implementation challenges for industry and PSAPs and
ensure the consistent availability of Text-to-911 service for industry,
PSAPs and consumers. Industry, PSAPs and consumers should not
be expected to utilize non-standards based Text-to-911 solutions.
PSAPs can voluntarily choose to select a non-standards based Text-
to-911 solution, but industry should not be expected to support
these non-standards based solutions.

General Recommendations
• As a near term and interim solution, Text-to-911
should not be subject to the all of the existing 9-
1-1 requirements for telephone calls (e.g. voice
calls to 9-1-1) or long-term solutions (e.g. NG9-1-
1) if such requirements would require significant
modifications to existing industry or public safety
networks, equipment or standards.

General Recommendations
• Text-to-911 should generally be available to subscribers of SMS-
based and “Over the Top”/third party text messaging services. Text-
to-911 should not be limited to individuals with disabilities because
any limitation in this manner may create public confusion and
unnecessary risk for all entities.
• Further research including standards development for the transition
of Text-to-911 to NG9-1-1 is necessary to maintain consistency of
text based communications to 9-1-1 services in order to avoid
public confusion.
• Additional liability protection may be necessary for all entities
involved in the support of Text-to-911.

Recognized Features of SMS-based
• Direct Access: SMS-based Text-to-911 should ensure a message originator
has direct access to an appropriate PSAP without initially contacting a
relay service.
• 911 digits: Using any number besides “911” to originate SMS-based Text-
to-911 will create public confusion and add uncertainty to an emergency
communication. Alternative technical or educational solutions may be
necessary if the three digit code “911” is not supported by existing
wireless handsets or SMS network architectures or standards.
• Wireless subscribers with SMS capable handsets: Message originators
must not be required to pre-register to initiate SMS-based Text-to-911, but
a valid SMS service subscription is required.

Recognized Features of SMS-based
• Voice and Text: Use of a voice and text communication in the same “call”
should be supported in NG9-1-1 and should be further researched for non-
SMS based solutions. However, this capability will not be feasible for
near-term implementation of SMS-based Text-to-911.
• SMS Roaming: Due to existing SMS network standards and architectures,
SMS-based Text-to-911 may not be available when a text message is
originated on a wireless network other than the home wireless network to
which a message originator has a valid subscription (i.e. roaming on a
wireless network). Additional research by appropriate technical and
standards organizations may be required to provide a “bounce back”
notification in this situation.

Recognized Features of SMS-based

Continuous Connection and Chronological Communications: Recognizing that SMS
is a store-and-forward service, the transport networks used for SMS-based Text-to-
911 should maintain continuous and to the extent feasible chronological
communications between the message originator and PSAP.

Feedback on Progress of Communication: Appropriate technical and standards
organizations should research the feasibility of the transport network used for
SMS-based Text-to-911 or the PSAP to provide a message originator with feedback
on the progress of a SMS-based Text-to-911 communication. Appropriate technical
and standards organizations, in consultation with appropriate stakeholders such as
representatives of Public Safety and individuals with disabilities, should research
and recommend a standard time for PSAPs to “release/terminate” an SMS-based
Text-to-911 communication (e.g. ending a communication due to inactivity).

Recognized Features of SMS-based
• “Bounce Back” Notifications: An automatic response
should be provided if Text-to-911 service is unavailable
due to lack of network or PSAP support. Additional
research by appropriate technical and standards
organizations may be required to provide a “bounce
back” notification when service is unavailable in certain
technically challenging situations, such as roaming or
“feedback on progress.”

Policy Recommendations

Originating service providers should utilize a standards-based approach (e.g. ATIS-
TIA JSMS-to-911) based on the C/E gateway architecture in order to minimize
implementation challenges for industry and PSAPs and ensure the consistent
availability of Text-to-911 service for industry, PSAPs and consumers and
independent of the originating network capabilities. Originating network, device
and service providers should not be expected to support third-party proprietary
services or solutions.

Consistent with recognized standards (e.g. ATIS-TIA JSMS-to-911), Public Safety
Authorities and PSAPs should choose whether to request and the method of
delivery of Text-to-911 communications. If a PSAP chooses not to accept Text-to-
911 communications (“non-participating PSAP”), an alternative PSAP (“designated
PSAP”) shall be chosen to accept and handle Text-to-911 communications.

Public Education Recommendations
• Under the coordination of the FCC, national Public Safety organizations
and state and local public safety entities along with leading deaf, deaf-
blind, and hard of hearing organizations should lead the education efforts
with their citizens about the availability and limitations of Text-to-911
• Other stakeholders, such as industry and other organizations representing
individuals with disabilities, should provide support where appropriate
and consistent with FCC and public safety public education efforts.
• The FCC should provide information about the availability of Text-to-911
consistent with open government policies (e.g. make data available for
third parties to utilize).

Next Steps
• Working Group Draft Report is delivered to the
full EAAC today
• Next steps are dependent upon the future of the
– Full EAAC review and comment on the working group
draft report
– Address Future Considerations section of the draft

Thank You!
• The Working Group leadership wishes to sincerely thank
the members and invited experts for their contributions
to this draft report and working to further the spirit of
collaboration and purpose that has sustained the EAAC

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