All four nationwide wireless carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA — have committed to supporting text to 911 in their networks by May 15, 2014, with "major deployments" expected in 2013.

Each of the four carriers signed the agreement with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) in a deal that was announced last week.

"Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century — and today, we are one step closer towards that vital goal," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "I am pleased that the nation's four largest wireless carriers and leading public safety organizations have responded with today's commitment, which will save lives starting in 2013."

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