The FCC wants text messaging and video to be part of E911 as a way to aid dispatchers and provide emergency respoders like police, fire and paramedics with a better idea of what they are up against. For many companies developing those tools that make the information richer and provide the delivery this will be a boon. But, on the USA leading LTE carrier it may not work very well.
Over the past few months I've tested and tried various devices that are LTE capable on the Verizon Wireless network with the current desktop and mobile releases of software such as Skype and Bria in an attempt to make video calls. At each turn I've been stymied at using Video over LTE. I've gone so far as to have conversations via Verizon Wireless' Executive Support Team (they call with a 949 area code) and was last told that two way video is not possible on the current LTE network. The trials were tested using the Samsung Galaxy 10.1, an HTC Thunderbolt and my Samsung Mobile Hotspot.
According to some techies I know the blocking is due to the double NAT making video calling based on SIP and other protocols a challenge. My tests though on ClearWire's Mobile WiMax network yield a far different result, as does the tests on T-Mobile's GSM/HSDPA+ network where video works fine but the real availability of HSDPA+ is limitd. Tests on AT&T proved possible, however their network varies by market, as over saturation of users impacts the upload. Given the speeds on LTE which is built for video and the price being paid one has to wonder why Verizon Wireless is not allowing two-way video.
Well, the answer may be in my past. Ten years ago we worked with Metricom, the company behind Ricochet, the first mobile data network that actually worked well. For those new to the wireless data game Ricochet provided the equivilant of wireless ISDN. In markets it was deployed it worked, and worked well. It was early and those who used it were loving it. Unfortunately mismanagement and leadership challenges hurt it, and it went away, caught up in the eventual MCI fiasco, as MCI was an investor. When we were working with Ricochet we had a series of sponsored events running around San Diego and rather than attend each event with some video software, web cams and laptops we had a virtual view of the activities. There was only one problem. Video created a very heavy load on the radios and too much of it was a concern from the engineers. My guess is Verizon Wireless' engineers have the same concern as LTE, like it's predecessor technology is still impacted by it's upstream return path, called "backhaul."
So given these technology and financial hurdles it all makes the FCC's vision, while correct, as not being something we'll see any time soon, as the carriers aren't really investing in the network to enable it. They're investing in the networks to do what will make them money. Video comms will not make them money as the over the top plays like Skype, Tango, GoogleTalk are where the money will go.