New Ohio law adds to cellular 9-1-1 capabilities

| Monday, February 28, 2005

Gov. Bob Taft recently signed legislation that would require cell phone customers in Ohio to pay an additional fee for enhanced 9-1-1 services.

The new law will add 32 cents a month to cellular telephone bills through Dec. 31, 2008.

In return, drivers throughout the state will have 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 new law, previously HB361, half of the tax revenue will go to wireless service providers, which are required by federal law to have GPS on all cell phones by 2005. The remaining funds are to be distributed among counties, based on their number of wireless service subscribers, to provide for equipping and staffing answering centers.

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

The fee will start being implemented May 6.

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