Canada’s Wireless Industry Ready to Implement Text with 9-1-1 for the DHHSI Community

OTTAWA – January 24, 2014 – The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and its wireless carrier members announced today their readiness to implement the Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) service for the deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI) community in Canada.

Wireless carriers across the country have completed all of the required network upgrades to implement T9-1-1. However, before the T9-1-1 service can be made available to DHHSI cell phone users, 9-1-1 call centres must also complete technology upgrades as well. At this time, the T9-1-1 service is not available in any region of the country. The service will be implemented by 9-1-1 call centres in different municipalities or regions at different time periods over the next several years.

As part of today’s announcement, CWTA is also launching a new Web site – www.Textwith911.ca – that will provide members of the DHHSI community with additional information about T9-1-1, including up-to-date information about the service and how to register. Members of the DHHSI community are encouraged to visit the site frequently to better understand the roll out of the service and when T9-1-1 will be available in their area.

T9-1-1 provides 9-1-1 call centres with the ability to converse with a deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired person during an emergency, using text messaging. When a DHHSI person requires 9-1-1 services, they dial 9-1-1 on their cell phone. There is no need for a caller to speak or hear, as the 9-1-1 call taker will normally receive an indicator from registered users that tells them to communicate with the caller via text messaging. The 9-1-1 call taker then initiates text messaging with the caller to address the emergency.

“Extending 9-1-1 services through text messaging is an important step in the evolution of using technology to keep all Canadians safe,” said CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord. “Canada’s wireless industry looks forward to working with the public safety community in rolling out this critical service across the country.”

The unique Canadian solution was developed by the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG), comprised of members from Emergency Services, telecommunications service providers, vendors and other stakeholders, including CWTA. T9-1-1 was trialed with volunteers from the DHHSI community in the spring and summer of 2012 in Vancouver, Toronto, Peel Region and Montreal.

The service will only be available to those in the DHHSI community who register their cell phones for the service through their wireless carrier. Voice calling remains the only way to communicate with 9-1-1 services for a person that is not deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or with speech impairment. Text messages sent directly to the digits “9-1-1” do not reach emergency services. Text with 9-1-1 for the public at large is expected to be deployed at a later date.

Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA)
CWTA is the authority on wireless issues, developments and trends in Canada. It represents cellular, PCS, messaging, mobile radio, fixed wireless and mobile satellite carriers as well as companies that develop and produce products and services for the industry. Visit www.cwta.ca for more information.

Media information:
Ashlee Smith
613-233-4888 ext. 227
asmith@cwta.ca

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