Verizon has selected a vendor that will help the company deliver the ability to text 911 emergency services, The Hill has learned. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski commended the company for the move.

By accepting texts in this way, in lieu of a phone call, Verizon could set the stage for those with either speaking or hearing disabilities to have access to the same services that others have had, via voice, for decades. Verizon views the move as a ‘continuation’ of its policies towards assisting its customers with emergency communication.

The company described its actions in the following way: “Verizon is at the forefront of 911 public-safety innovations, and today’s announcement is another step in making SMS-to-911 service available to those who cannot make a voice call to 911.”

Such a service would be technologically open, as the only requirement is a phone that can send texts, something that any phone sold today, smart or feature, is capable of doing.

The service should launch in the first two quarters of next year, starting with only certain areas of its network.