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Ninth Annual Report to Congress on State Collection and Distribution of 911 And Enhanced-911 Fees and Charges

December 29, 2017
By Federal Communications Commission

This report, published by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and submitted to Congress, details how U.S. states and territories collect and spend funds collected from consumers for the purposes of administering emergency service programs.

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This report, published by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and submitted to Congress, details how U.S. states and territories collect and spend funds collected from consumers for the purposes of administering emergency service programs, including 911 and enhanced-911 (E911) dispatch services.

FCC is required to study how states and territories are administering 911 funds, the report’s authors write.

“The New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 (NET 911 Act) requires the Commission to submit an annual report to Congress on the collection and distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 fees and charges by the states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and Tribal Nations (states and other reporting entities),” the authors wrote. “As part of its annual review, the NET 911 Act requires the Commission to report whether 911 fees and charges collected by states and other reporting entities are being used for any purpose other than to support 911 and Enhanced 911 (E911) services.”

In calendar year 2016, at least seven state governments raided 911 funds to support spending on programs unrelated to public safety, the report’s authors write.

“New Jersey and West Virginia used a portion of their 911/E911 funds to support non-911 related public-safety programs,” the authors wrote. “Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island used a portion of their 911/E911 funds for either non-public safety or unspecified uses. New York did not submit a report in response to this year’s data collection, but sufficient public record information exists to support a finding that New York diverted funds for non-public safety uses. The total amount of 911/E911 funds diverted by all reporting jurisdictions in calendar year 2016 was $128,909,169, or approximately 5 percent of total 911/E911 fees collected.”

Fee collection varies by jurisdiction, and some states share authority over the collection of 911 funds with local governments, the authors write.

Twenty-seven states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported that they collect all 911 fees on a statewide basis, with the collected funds administered by the state,” the authors wrote. “Four states reported that 911 fee collection occurs exclusively at the local level, although in some cases such local collection is authorized by state statute. Fourteen states reported using a hybrid approach to 911 fee collection, in which state and local governing bodies share authority over fee collection from customers. For example, Colorado reported that ‘[s]urcharge funds derived from landlines, contract wireless, and VoIP lines are remitted directly to local 911 Authorities by the carriers, but prepaid surcharge fees are assessed at point-of-sale on the purchase of wireless minutes and remitted to the Colorado Department of Revenue, which then distributes those funds to local governments using a formula based on wireless call volume as a percentage of total wireless calls received in the state.’”