West Virginia cell phone users pay high price for 9-1-1 cell phone service

| Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Cell phone users in West Virginia may soon pay the highest wireless 9-1-1 service fees in the country, if a bill before the governor is signed.

Under HB 3208, users would pay $3 a month for the emergency service on each cell phone, which would be more than double the current $1.48.

According to a study by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, the increase would make it the highest charge for 9-1-1 services in the country. Some states, including California and Hawaii, however, charge as a percentage of the total bill.

The bill also redistributes 911 funding between West Virginia’s 55 counties, the Charleston Daily Mail reported. Instead of basing it upon the number of land-line telephones in the county like the current fee does, all counties will receive an equal 0.85 percent of the funding distribution.

An additional $1 million from the increase will be used to build cell towers, many of which will benefit rural areas, the Daily Mail reported.

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