FCC to Consider 9-1-1 Fee Diversion, Network Security Rulemakings at February Meeting
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | Comments

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said the FCC will consider a rulemaking seeking comment on how to prevent 9-1-1 fee diversion.

Rosenworcel previewed the February agenda in a notice released Jan. 26. In those notes, she said that two rulemakings the FCC will seek comments on security and public-safety issues highlighted by Congress.

“The first involves 9-1-1 fee diversion and what we can do to stop it, because it’s not right when 9-1-1 fees on our phone bill do not wind up actually supporting 9-1-1,” Rosenworcel wrote.

Preventing diversion of 9-1-1 fees to uses other than 9-1-1 has been a focus of the FCC over the last few years. In its most recent report to Congress on the issue, the FCC found that five states diverted more than $200 million in 9-1-1 fees to other uses in 2019.

In a large spending and coronavirus relief package passed at the end of 2020, Congress took several steps to help prevent 9-1-1 fee diversion.

That law requires the FCC, within 180 days of the enactment of the bill, to release final rules determining the exact functions and purposes that 9-1-1 fees can be used for. The February rulemaking will likely be the FCC’s first steps toward this mandate.

At the February meeting, the FCC will also consider a rulemaking that will square the FCC”s rules with changes Congress made to the Secure and Trusted Communications Act in the same appropriations bill. That effort is intended to remove insecure foreign equipment from the nation’s communications network in order to make them safe and secure, Rosenworcel said.

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