December 7, 2016–The National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) released a paper today that outlines obstacles faced by states hoping to use telephone surcharges to fund 911 deployment. “It is important that states make every effort to optimize revenues from the current funding mechanism before attempting to implement a new one,” said NASNA President Harriet Miller-Brown.
The paper noted that states face challenges because of their lack of authority and resources regarding carrier remittances, lack of authority concerning public safety answering point (PSAP) usage of 911 funds, and a lack of resources to enforce PSAP use of 911 funds. “State 911 programs need to have the authority and resources to require telecommunications providers, the entity responsible for collecting provider remittances, and PSAPs to submit whatever records are necessary to conduct the audit and validate its results,” the paper said. “That authority could be specifically set forth in statute, or the 911 program itself could be granted broad authority under which a variety of activities could be carried out consistent with the statute.
“Regardless of whether the state 911 program undertakes these activities or another agency does, it is not possible to have an accurate understanding of the 911 funding situation without adequate oversight of the entire remittance process,” the paper added. – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org