FCC Commissioner Calls Out States that Didn’t Submit 9-1-1 Fee Diversion Data
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 | Comments

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly sent letters to the seven governors of states and territories that failed to report information to the FCC regarding its 9-1-1 fee diversion practices. The letters were sent to New York, Oklahoma, Missouri, Montana, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.

A new FCC report to Congress that collected data from 46 states, the District of Columbia (D.C.), American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands found that six states — New Jersey, West Virginia, Illinois, New Mexico, Rhode Island and New York — diverted 9-1-1 fees for purposes other than 9-1-1 during 2016. Seven states and territories didn’t report data.

“The commission relies on states and territories to self report whether and to what extent they divert 9-1-1 fees for other purposes,” O’Rielly said. “This information is then supplied to Congress, which has the important job of determining what policies may be needed to ensure that sufficient funds are provided for 9-1-1 services.”

He called on the states to report data because the diversion of 9-1-1 fees can lead to understaffed calling centers, longer wait times in an emergency or the inability to upgrade to next-generation systems.

“This is of critical significance to public safety and simply ignoring the commission’s inquiry can no longer be an option,” he said.

In the letters, O’Reilly said that because the states and territories have either been self-admitted diverters of 9-1-1 fees in the past or guilty of failing to respond to previous inquiries, it can only be assumed that the state or territory diverted 9-1-1 fees for 2016. “Neither of these outcomes is appropriate or acceptable,” the letters said.

O’Reilly asked the states to answer the following questions:
1. Why did your state or territory fail to respond to the FCC’s request for information regarding the collection and allocation of 9-1-1 fees for 2016?
2. What steps has your state or territory taken, if any, to rectify the failure to file and provide the FCC the information requested?
3. Using the FCC’s standards and definition, does your state or territory divert 9-1-1 fees to other functions? If so, how much was diverted in 2016, and for what functions?

The full letter is here.

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