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Mobile phone companies must relay 911 texts by May 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Communications Commission says the nation's four largest wireless carriers have agreed to relay text messages to 911 call centers by May 2014.

The four carriers - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile - cover 90 percent of the population. However, not all 911 call centers will be able to receive texts. In those areas, the carriers will provide an automated response that tells texters to call instead.

The FCC says texting to 911 could be useful when a phone call could put the caller in danger. Texting could also aid a person with disabilities who is unable to call. However, the FCC says people should always call 911 during an emergency if they can.


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