E911: Pot To Kettle…Do You Read Me?

On every one of your cellular bills since the early 90’s, you’ve paid a fee for funding E911 service. That’s the planned ability of the cellular network to locate a phone when the caller dials 911. Techdirt has discussed before about how those funds have been used up for purchases such as boots and pencils. Now, a group of congresspeople are finally working to ensure these funds are used for E911. This is good. The injustice on this issue is that the FCC has required the carriers to provide E911 location information to the nations 6000+ 911 call centers by November of this year. Further, the carriers are forced to collect the tax the governments were to spend to enable the call centers to use that location data. Despite receiving the tax from the carriers, local governments have abused the funds to balance their budgets. We are now in a situation where fewer than 20% of the 911 call centers can actually use the location data when they receive it. It’s hypocritical in this situation for government to be critical of the carriers.

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