Public Safety and Security Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-7270

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE EMERGENCY 9-1-1 SURCHARGE.

Vote Date:

3/6/2007

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/1/2007

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY COMMITTEE

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill is part of the Department of Public Safety's legislative package. Significant funds are lost each year due to the refusal of prepaid wireless carriers to collect and remit the 9-1-1 surcharge. Voice over Internet Protocol providers must provide for connectivity and customer data base information to be able to have subscribers' 9-1-1 call transmitted to the appropriate public safety answering point.

Substitute Language: LCO No. 5369: This bill adds sections 5 and 6 to the previous version.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

LEONARD C. BOYLE, Commissioner, Department of Public Safety (DPS), State of CT. The state's Enhanced 9-1-1 network, data base and call handling system at the 107 public safety answering points is supported through the Enhanced 9-1-1 surcharge collected in the monthly telephone bills. The funds collected enable the state to continue to provide state-of- the-art 9-1-1 equipment and the highest level of service in time of emergency. Currently, wireless plans do not provide for the collection of this surcharge even though their customers have access to the 9-1-1 service. Many Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers do not provide full Enhanced 9-1-1 location information for all 9-1-1 calls and do not collect and remit the 9-1-1 surcharge. This equates to approximately one million dollars in lost revenue to the state's Enhanced 9-1-1 fund on an annual basis. This proposed legislation serves to ensure that all providers of telephone service collect and remit the 9-1-1 surcharge.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

AT&T CONNECTICUT and affiliates. AT&T strongly agrees that customers should have the ability to call E9-1-1 and that all who have access should share equally in the costs of providing it. AT&T is currently reviewing the requirement in the bill that VoIP providers provide enhanced E9-1-1 service and require their subscribers to pay the E9-1-1 surcharge and would like the opportunity to work with the Committee should an amendment be necessary.

VONAGE, Holmdel, New Jersey. Working with the Connecticut Department of Public Safety's Office of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications, Vonage implemented E9-1-1 for all its customers in the state in late 2005. In February 2007 Vonage began assessing an agreed upon statewide fee and its first remittance will occur later this month. Vonage requests that the Committee amend the bill to extend liability protections to VoIP providers and public safety answering point (PSAP) for sending and receiving E9-1-1 calls in Connecticut. Liability parity is a critical step to ensuring a uniform 9-1-1 system and would further encourage improvements and investment in the state's 9-1-1 system.

ALLTEL CORPORATION, SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION, T-MOBILE USA, INC., and VERIZON WIRELESS. These providers support the goal of the bill and request the Committee make a few technical corrections to reflect two typical ways prepaid wireless providers deal with the 9-1-1 fees. The most prevalent approach, the “Tennessee Methodology”, allows providers two options for collection and remittance of 9-1-1 fees. The first Tennessee option is a slightly modified version of the one proposed in HB 7270. The second Tennessee option requires providers of wireless services to calculate the sum of the monthly revenue from prepaid wireless service for accounts in the particular state and then divide that sum by a figure, typically fifty, used to represent the average monthly revenue for a customer. This option, sometimes referred to as the “revenue aggregation option” offers the simplest pricing and administration for consumers and the fewest administrative requirements on retailers.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

Reported by: Matthew Gianquinto and Madeline Grabinski

Date: March 12, 2007