Illinois APCO, NENA Chapters Ask for Clarification on FCC’s 911 Fee Diversion Rules
Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Comments

The Illinois chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) asked for clarification of the FCC’s fee diversion rules approved last year.

Specifically, the chapters asked for the FCC to clearly determine whether using 9-1-1 fees for 9-8-8 constitutes 9-1-1 fee diversion. The chapters said that FCC representatives were asked that question at NENA National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, this month.

“It was stated that the transfer of 9-1-1 surcharge funds to a 9-8-8 trust fund would constitute a diversion of fees which could disqualify the State of Illinois from receipt of future federal grant funding,” the chapters’ letter to the FCC said. “This opinion was based on the history of the FCC’s application of the definition of diversion and use of 9-1-1 surcharge funds.”

The chapters noted that on July 1, the state of Illinois is set to transfer $5 million in 9-1-1 fees to 9-8-8.

“After this transfer of 9-1-1 fees, based on the opinion of the FCC, would the state be ineligible for federal Next Generation 9-1-1 grants?” the letter said. “If so, would the state be able to repay the money to the 9-1-1 fund within the state’s fiscal year without impacting the State’s ability to secure Next Generation 9-1-1 grant funding?”

The Illinois chapters argued that it is important that the FCC clearly determine whether such a transfer would count as fee diversion.

“Unless a formal opinion is made by the commission, it is likely that a systemic diversion of 9-1-1 fees will be used to build and support 9-8-8 operations nationally,” the letter said.

In 2020, 9-8-8 was designated as a national number to assist with mental health crises and suicide prevention.

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