The diversion by states of 911 fees and surcharges for other purposes remains “a drag on progress,” Lisa Fowlkes, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said in remarks today at the National Emergency Number Association’s 911 Goes to Washington event. In a report released last week, the FCC said that six states diverted 911 funds for other purposes in 2016 (TR Daily, Feb. 7). The total amount diverted by reporting jurisdictions was $128.9 million, or about 5% of the total collected in 911/enhanced 911 (E911) fees that year, the report said.
The states identified in the report as diverting 911 fees for other purposes were New Jersey, West Virginia, Illinois, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and New York. New York was the only one of the six states that did not submit a report to the FCC. But the Commission said that “sufficient public record information exists to support a finding that New York diverted funds for non-public safety uses.”
The report “shows that tangible progress is being made towards NG911 implementation, but that there is still a long way to go and that in too many communities, 911 fee diversion remains a drag on progress,” Ms. Fowlkes said today. “We have sought comment on the report and welcome your input on whether further steps can be taken to discourage fee diversion.” She also said that the FCC is “continuing to provide technical support for the NG911 transition.” She noted that the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council later this year plans to provide “reports and recommendations to the Commission on two aspects of the transition” to next-generation 911 (NG-911).
“First, CSRIC’s Working Group 1 will report on ways to enhance the reliability of NG911 networks against the threat of outages,” she said. “Second, Working Group 1 will report on steps that small carriers need to take to be ready to deliver their 911 traffic to ESINets in an NG911-compatible manner[.] Beyond these initiatives, we remain committed to partnering with you, and we encourage you to come to us when you encounter barriers to the NG911 transition that you believe the Commission can help address.” —Paul Kirby, email@example.com