Ohio bill would add to cellular 9-1-1 capabilities

| 12/14/2004

The Ohio Senate has signed off on legislation that would require cell phone customers in the state to pay an additional fee for enhanced 9-1-1 services.

The proposal would add 32 cents a month to cellular telephone bills through Dec. 31, 2008.

In return, drivers throughout the state would get enhanced 9-1-1 service capable of geographically locating a cell phone caller with the aid of global positioning system technology.

Enhanced 9-1-1 is a service that allows emergency dispatchers to pinpoint the location and phone number of a person without the caller having to say a word.

Under the bill – HB361 – half of the tax revenue would go to wireless service providers, which are required by federal law to have GPS on all cell phones by 2005. The remaining funds would be distributed among counties, based on their number of wireless service subscribers, to provide for equipping and staffing answering centers.

Ohio is only one of seven states still seeking a funding source for the 9-1-1 upgrades.

The bill has been sent back to the Ohio House for concurrence with Senate changes before heading to Gov. Bob Taft for approval.