Canada's Wireless Industry Commends CRTC Decision to Implement Text with 911

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The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) has announced its support of the decision by the Canadian Radio television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to move forward with the implementation of Text with 911 (T911) for the deaf hard of hearing and speech impaired community.

The Canadian solution was developed by the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Emergency Services Working Group, comprised of members from Emergency Services, telecommunications service providers, vendors and other stakeholders, including CWTA. The T911 service was trialed with volunteers in the spring and summer of 2012 in Vancouver, Toronto, Peel Region and Montreal.

"CWTA and its members applaud all parties involved for their dedication to improving safety for Canada's DHHSI community," said CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord. "Wireless service providers are always looking for ways to improve accessibility for Canadian consumers, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with community, government and other stakeholders in deploying this revolutionary safety tool."

T911 provides 911 call centres with the ability to converse with a deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired person during an emergency, using text messaging. When a person requires 911 services, they dial 911 on their cell phone. There is no need for them to speak, as the 911 call taker will receive an indicator that tells them to communicate with the caller via text messaging. The 911 call taker then initiates text messaging with the caller to address the emergency.

The service will only be available to those who register their cell phones for the service through their wireless carrier and can show that they need such a service. T911 will only be available in areas that have received the necessary wireless and 911 network upgrades. Availability of the service will be announced at a later date.

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