Many states fund their public safety call system by imposing 911 surcharges or fees on consumers’ phone bills, both wired and wireless.
Some states have used these 911 funds for other purposes such as reducing budget deficits or funding other priorities.
While CTIA has successfully worked to cut down on the number of states raiding their 911 funds, some states continue this practice, hurting the public safety community’s ability to protect consumers.
Many states fund their public safety communications needs through a 911 surcharge on the bills of wireless and wireline phone customers, including prepaid wireless users who pay the surcharge at the point-of-sale. While the surcharge amount varies by state, its purpose does not: to help fund local public safety needs.
Yet some states have chosen to raid these 911 funds to cover budget deficits or pay for other non-911 related expenses – jeopardizing public safety efforts. CTIA, its members and the public safety community have joined together to urge states to use the money from 911 surcharges for its designated purpose – protecting consumers and providing emergency communication services with a dedicated funding source.
Thanks to these efforts and bipartisan support from members of Congress, our nation’s lawmakers enacted the New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008
, which requires the FCC to release an annual report
on how much states are collecting from the 911 surcharge and how they are using the 911 funds.
Since the first report, the number of states diverting these funds from their purpose has significantly declined, along with the amount being used for purposes other than 911. Unfortunately, a handful of states fail to report this information to the FCC.