Texas Reforms Its State 9-1-1 Equalization Surcharge

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

 
 
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Effective March 1, 2012, Texas has restructured its 9-1-1 Equalization Surcharge. This state-wide surcharge will now be imposed at the rate of $0.06 per line or connection, per month. Prior to this overhaul, the Equalization Surcharge was imposed at a rate of 1.0% on charges for "intrastate long-distance."

These changes are being implemented by the Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC) pursuant to legislation, enacted in 2011 and known as Senate Bill 1a, that amended Texas Health and Safety Code section 771.072. 2011 1st C.S. Tex. Gen. Laws ch. 4.

The revised law imposes the Equalization Surcharge on each "local exchange access line or equivalent local exchange access line." Under CSEC rules, a local exchange access line includes digital phone lines, including the service commonly known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This means that the Equalization Surcharge will now be imposed on all voice-capable landline, wireless, and VoIP access lines that have 9-1-1 accessibility. The switch from imposing the Equalization Surcharge on "intrastate long-distance" to local access lines also means that the responsibility for collecting and remitting the surcharge will shift from the customer's long-distance provider to their providers of local exchange and wireless service. Also, the revisions to the law specifically prohibit imposing the surcharge on both payphone lines and prepaid wireless services.


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