T-Mobile said today that it has implemented NextGen 911 real time text (RTT) at an emergency communications center in Hood County, Texas.

As a result, T-Mobile customers now can communicate with the center using simultaneous conversational text and voice so that those at each end can see messages as they are being typed without waiting for the other party to hit “send.”

NextGen 911 Real Time Text

As T-Mobile notes, this will be an important capability for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as for those who have speech-related disabilities or are not native English speakers. Additionally, it will enhance response times.

T-Mobile notes that it has had native RTT features in its devices since 2016. The NextGen 911 RTT capability is also underpinned by technology from cloud communications platform provider Sinch.

“Real-time texting is an important advancement because it allows the requestor and receiver to type at the same time and saves precious seconds, which are critical to successfully managing emergency calls and protecting the community,” said Chandy Ghosh, general manager and chief operating officer of emergency services for Sinch, in a press release.

According to the release, NG911 capabilities are available in 24 states. Sinch said it plans to expand RTT nationwide as public safety answering points (PSAPs) prepare to deploy the technology.

T-Mobile also was one of the first service providers to location-based routing and NG911 connectivity over IP. Location-based routing helps ensure that wireless 911 calls go to the correct PSAP.

Some other wireless carriers, including AT&T and Lumen, have also implemented NG911 and/or location-based routing.

Of course, not all PSAPs have sufficient funding to deploy the latest in 911 technology. Recognizing that, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel has recommended that some of the money raised in spectrum auctions should be reserved for PSAP technology upgrades.

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