Federal Communications Commission seeks comment on proposed text-to-988 rules

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The Federal Communications Commission recently released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking inviting public comment on proposed text-to-988 rules. 

The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking follows up on a Report and Order adopted on July 16, where the Federal Communications Commission designated 988 as the 3-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

Callers can currently reach the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 TALK. Starting July 16, 2022, phone services providers will be required to direct all 988 voice calls to the Lifeline.

The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking follows up on a report and order adopted on July 16.

The order asks several questions about text-to-988 for individuals with disabilities, including:

• How important is texting for individuals with disabilities as a way to reach the Lifeline 

• Would newer texting solutions such as real-time text make texting to 988 more accessible for individuals with disabilities 

• Should covered text providers be required to send automatic bounce-back messages where text-to-988 service is unavailable

• When should covered text providers be required to support text-to-988

Interested parties may file comments by accessing the Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings. 

All filings must reference WC Docket No. 18-336. 

People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings may request assistance by email to FCC504@fcc.gov.

Comment Deadline: July 12.

Reply Comment Deadline: Aug. 10.

General information about 988 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline. 

Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-432-2275 videophone.