Today's Regulatory Mix: FCC Issues Annual Report on State 911 Fees, FCC Adopts Rules to Secure Communications Networks and Supply Chain
FCC Issues Annual Report on State 911 Fees
The FCC released it's twelfth annual report to Congress on the collection and distribution of 911 fees by states. The report finds that in 2019, states and territories collected more than $3 billion in 911 fees, and more than $200 million of that funding was diverted for uses other than 911. The report identifies five states—Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia—where 911 fees were diverted for other purposes. Last year’s report found that almost $198 million in 911 fees were diverted for non-911 uses by the same five states.
The report also contains detailed state-by-state data on other aspects of 911 deployment in the United States, including the number and type of 911 calls, the number of 911 call centers and telecommunicators, investment in Next Generation 911, programs to support cybersecurity for 911 systems, and the extent of state-level oversight and auditing of the collection and use of 911 fees.
“The 911 fees that we pay on our phone bills are essential to maintaining and improving our nation’s 911 services, which makes it outrageous that a handful of states continue to siphon this funding for other purposes.” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “This practice is especially egregious during a time when America has grappled with a pandemic, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, and when we were again reminded of the heroic work of first responders and the critical importance of our 911 system. The Commission recently sought public input on ways to stop 911 fee diversion, and I encourage all stakeholders help us combat this problem. I thank Commissioner O’Rielly for shining a spotlight on this shameful practice, as well as House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden and Representatives Anna Eshoo and Chellie Pingree for their efforts in Congress to address the problem.”
FCC Adopts Rules to Secure Communications Networks and Supply Chain
The FCC announced it has adopted rules to implement the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, further protecting the security of the United States and the safety of U.S. communications networks. The Order requires the FCC to publish a list of communications equipment and services determined to be a risk to national security that has been identified either by (1) executive branch interagency bodies with appropriate national security experience; (2) the Department of Commerce pursuant to its authority under Executive Order 13873; (3) Congress in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, or (4) U.S. national security agencies. Once Congress appropriates funding, eligible telecommunications carriers that receive universal service funding to provide service in remote areas of the country must remove such equipment or services from their networks and properly dispose of it.
The Order also establishes and adopts rules for the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program, which will provide funds to smaller providers of advanced communications services for the removal and replacement of communications equipment and services on the list published by the FCC, conditioned on the appropriation of funds by Congress. The Order further requires all providers of advanced communications services to report whether their networks include any covered communications equipment or services acquired after August 14, 2018 and includes reporting requirements to ensure that the Commission is kept informed about the ongoing presence of insecure equipment in U.S. communications networks.
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