Tennessee to Launch Text to 911 Trial

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. 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.

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