Funding & Policy

Today, 911 is typically funded by subscriber fees on telephone services, an approach that may be insufficient in the future. Many areas of the country are already experiencing a decline in 911 revenues as consumers have stopped using land lines and adopted new telecommunications services not covered under current State and local 911 laws. New funding models and mechanisms that are technology-neutral and dedicated for 911 services will be essential for sustaining 911 systems that are built on infrastructures that use Internet Protocol (IP).

While consistent, long-term funding for 911 is essential, revenues collected for 911 sometimes are diverted to other purposes. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is charged with monitoring and reporting on States’ collection and usage of 911 funds, including information regarding the diversion of 911 funds from their intended purposes.

Technology upgrades to 911, as well as funding issues, may require changes to existing laws, regulations and tariffs that specifically reference older technologies or system capabilities that might inhibit the implementation of of advanced technologies. These issues include, for example:

  • collection and eligible use of 911 funds
  • state 911 program authority
  • 911 system definition, technology and interconnection requirements
  • rules concerning access and sharing of 911-related databases
  • rules concerning which devices and services may connect to 911
  • privacy issues
  • and many others

“A National Plan for Migrating to IP-enabled 911 Systems” has identified several options for funding, governance and policy issues:

  • Ensure that IP-enabled 911 upgrades are considered a fiscal priority for States and local jurisdictions and Federal grant programs
  • Change outdated funding mechanisms to be more technology-neutral
  • Ensure that 911 funds are preserved for 911
  • Clarify jurisdictional frameworks and responsibilities and identify the coordination required at each level of government to make IP-enabled 911 possible
  • Consider developing model legislation that would address updating regulation, legislation and other policies to reflect modern communications and IP-enabled 911 system capabilities

More information:

Guidelines for State NG911 Legislative Language [PDF]

NCSL 911 Legislation Tracking Database

A National Plan for Migrating to IP-Enabled 911 Systems [PDF]