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FCC Requires “Bounce-Back Messages” when Texting to 911 is Unavailable

Wireless Carriers and Providers of Interconnected Text Messaging Must Send “Bounce-Back” Messages to Consumers Who Text 911 Where the Service is Not Offered

On May 17, 2013, the FCC released a Report and Order requiring a “bounce back” message to consumers who try to text 911 where text-to-911 is not available. The FCC’s requirement will help protect the public by informing consumers who try to text 911 whether or not the 911 authorities received the text message.  If the message has not been received, consumers will receive an immediate response that text-to-911 is not available and to contact emergency services by another means, such as by making a voice call or using telecommunications relay services (if deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled) to access 911.  This FCC action implements in part recommendations from the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC), which the Commission established under the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.

The four major wireless service providers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon) joined with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officers (APCO) in December 2012 to commit to making available text-to-911 by May 15, 2014.

For more information, please contact Cheryl King, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at 202-418-2284 (Voice), 202-418-0416 (TTY) or, or Suzy Rosen Singleton, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at 202-810-1503 (voice/videophone) or

Link to the FCC Report and Order:

Link to the FCC Press Release on the Report and Order:

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