Winnipeg, Manitoba – The nation’s fourth largest telecom provider, Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS), has now announced 9-1-1 text messaging covering select coverage areas of the province. The service now allows the deaf and hearing impaired to reach emergency operators using the short messaging service (SMS) protocol. However, there are caveats to using the service. Here’s the scoop of what is called the T9-1-1 service:
<li> Directly texting the digits 9-1-1 will not work. Users must first register their mobile phones with the service and initially dial 911 as would any other person wanting to contact emergency services. </li>
<li> The availability texting service is subject to the coverage area of MTS. </li>
<li> The T9-1-1 service does not guarantee a response, but rather seeks a “best effort” to ensure messages are sent & delivered in what is considered a “timely response”. </li>
<li> Not all areas of Manitoba currently support the T9-1-1 service </li>
<li> The T9-1-1 service only works in areas that specifically support the T9-1-1 service </li>
Admittedly, some of the caveats seem redundant, but MTS seeks wants registered users of the service to have a proper expectation of service & availability. While T9-1-1 may not offer the full range of coverage offered to those who are have their hearing, it is an important first step at giving the deaf and hearing impaired parity. Users will first need to register their phones with the service which is exclusively limited to the deaf & hearing impaired. Those who simply prefer to text over voice calls are not allowed to use the service. Needless to say, those using T9-1-1 must be current on their cell phone charges. Also, not every type of cell phone is capable of making use of T9-1-1. See the link below for a complete list of supported handsets. Most of the models supported are from Samsung, Apple, and Blackberry.