The FCC is seeking public comment on its recently released its fifth annual Report to Congress on State Collection and Distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 Fees and Charges (Fifth Report), the information provided to the FCC by states and other reporting entities, and the reported expenditure of funds for Next Generation 911 (NG911) services. Comments are due February 24, 2014; reply comments are due March 25, 2014.
What Report Was Filed?
The New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 requires the FCC to report to Congress, on an annual basis, whether the 911 fees and charges collected by the states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and Indian territories are being used for any purpose other than to support 911 and Enhanced 911 (E911) services. The Fifth Report covers the period January 1 to December 31, 2012.
What Were The Key Findings?
This Fifth Report finds that in calendar year 2012, 19 jurisdictions collected 911/E911 fees at the state level, 10 states collected fees at the local level, and 22 states collected fees at both the state and local levels. Estimates of funds collected ranged from a low of $2,010,341.58 by Nevada to a high of $212,788,623 by Texas. The report also finds that 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico used the funds exclusively for 911/E911 purposes, while four states used some portion of their funds to support other programs or programs not specifically described in state statute or code. Specifically, New York and Rhode Island reported that they assigned collected 911 fees and charges to their state’s General Fund. Illinois reported that funds were legislatively transferred from the state’s Wireless Services Emergency Fund in fiscal year 2013, but did not specify how the transferred money was used. Kansas reported enforcement actions undertaken in response to the possible use of funds for purposes other than those designated in the state statute, with several expenditures awaiting final resolution.
What About NG911 Deployment?
States were asked to provide information on whether they classify expenditures on NG911 as within the scope of permissible expenditures for 911 or E911 purposes, and whether and how much they expended such funds in 2012. Forty four respondents indicated that their 911 funding mechanism allows for distribution of 911 funds for the implementation of NG911; five respondents reported that their funding mechanism does not allow for such use. Of the states that indicated that their funding mechanism allows for NG911 funding, 24 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico indicated that they used 911 funds for NG911 programs in 2012, spending approximately $97,367,543.46 on NG911 programs.
What Is The FCC Seeking Public Comment On?
The FCC said that a thorough understanding of how 911 fees and charges are used is important in light of the challenges and opportunities presented by the transition to NG911. Accordingly, it seeks comment on respondents’ expenditure of funds on NG911 systems and capabilities. Specifically:
- What conclusions, however preliminary, can be drawn from the information submitted by respondents regarding the sufficiency of funding resources directed to the development and deployment of NG911 services? ·
- Based on respondents’ filings, are 911 and E911 funds being used to deploy NG911 systems and capabilities in a logical and sustainable fashion to ensure NG911 can meet the public’s expectations for enhanced emergency response?
- Are NG911 systems being deployed consistently across the nation?
- With respect to future data 911/E911 data collections pursuant to the NET 911 Act, how might the FCC improve its data collection to better capture the state of expenditures on NG911 systems by state and other jurisdictions?