911 May Allow Emergency Texts
FCC chair proposes upgrading antiquated call centers
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2010 4:02 PM CST
It may be possible to text 911 calls someday.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, FILE)

(Newser) – You may soon be able to text an emergency message to 911—and send a photo to boot. The FCC is exploring ways to bring 911 into the "digital age," says chair Julius Genachowski, noting that 70% of 911 calls come from mobile phones. No timetable yet, but the agency will call for public input next month, reports CNNMoney.

911 call centers are not the communication hubs you'd expect in 2010—many don't even have broadband Internet service. Genachowski's "Next Generation 911" plan would also make call centers able to receive videos from mobile phones. Another impetus for the change: sometimes, say in the case of a home intruder, it would be safer to text than to talk.