Hinds County, Miss., Imposes Surcharge on 911 Calls via Internet-Based Phones
The new $1 monthly fee on Internet-based phone service will help the county pay for emergency services, call towers and dispatching upgrades.
For years, counties in Mississippi have been collecting fees for 911 calls made from landline phones to help pay for emergency services, such as new technology, call towers and dispatching upgrades.
But there was a loophole: While 911 callers had to pay for landline calls (up to $1 for residential and $2 for commercial), people who called 911 though an Internet-based phone service dodged the fee. But a number of counties are enacting legislation to put an end to it. The Hinds County Board of Supervisors, for example, just passed an amendment to impose a $1 monthly fee on Internet-based phone service.
"The amendment was passed because there was no amount of money being retrieved from people with Internet-based phones," said board President Robert Graham, who proposed levying the fee.
The service charge complies with the state's recent emergency telecommunications bill signed into law by Gov. Haley Barbour, which imposes a $1 tax on voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and prepaid cell phones to help fund 911 services.
Go to Government Technology to learn more about Hinds County’s 911 surcharge.
[Photo courtesy of Barry Bahler/FEMA]