Legislation, Funding & Policy
Today, 911 is typically funded by subscriber fees on telephone services. This approach has resulted in inconsistent and unstable funding, as the public's communication devices have evolved.
Much of the country has experienced a decline in 911 revenues as increasing numbers of consumers have abandoned landline phone service in favor of new telecommunications services not addressed under many current State and local 911 subscriber fee laws.
New funding approaches that are technology-neutral and dedicated to 911 services will be essential for sustaining current 911 services and for developing and implementing Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems.
In addition to stabilizing 911 funding, NG911 planning and implementation may also require changes to existing laws, regulations and tariffs, to allow 911 authorities to coordinate technologies and operations. Many States across the nation are currently updating statutes to accommodate the future needs of 911. To support this effort, the National 911 Program has partnered with the National Conference of State Legislators to create a 911 database for tracking all modifications to new and existing laws across the United States and its territories.
Local governments pass laws that allow them to collect 911 fees through your local telephone service provider or wireless provider. The fees collected are distributed to help pay for emergency communication and response services in your area. Enhanced 911 (E911), which enables a wireless device to transmit its phone number and geographic location to the 911 call center, is an example of how wireless services have upgraded their delivery of 911 calls over time. According to the FCC, some wireless service providers may choose to pass their costs of providing E911 service on to their customers and this charge may be also described as an E911 charge on your wireless telephone bill.
Revenues collected for 911 are sometimes diverted to other purposes by state or local governments. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is charged with monitoring and reporting on States' collection and usage of 911 funds, including information regarding the diversion of 911 funds from their intended purposes. Learn more in the FCC Annual Fund Diversion Report to Congress.
The National 911 Program continues to work with state and local governments and the 911 community to identify potential policy, legislative, and funding improvements for the future of 911. To learn more about current activities of the Program, please visit Program Initiatives or the National 911 Resource Center.