Florida Amends Rules for Collecting State E911 Fee

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012


Florida has enacted legislation that amends its rules for collecting its E911 fee. 2012 Fla. Laws ch. 177, sec. 2.

Florida generally requires voice communications services providers to collect the state's "E911 fee" from their subscribers. To keep pace with changes in technology, Florida made changes to the statutes that impose the E911 fee to clarify who should be collecting it. This legislation follows the general nationwide trend in updating laws imposing 911 surcharges and fees to continually expand the types of services subject to such surcharges and fees.

Before these legislative changes, Florida required both local exchange carriers and wireless providers to bill the E911 to their subscribers. To clarify who must collect the E911 fee, the legislation made two changes.

First, the legislation replaced the term "local exchange carrier" with "voice communications service provider," in Fla. Stat. Ann. sec. 365.172(8)(a)1 and required that "voice communications service providers" must bill the fee to subscribers based on the number on access lines that provide "access to the E911 system, on a service-identifier basis, up to a maximum of 25 access lines per account bill rendered." For purposes of the E911 fee, a "voice communications service provider" is "any person or entity providing voice communications services, except that the term does not include any person or entity that resells voice communications service and was assessed the fee by its resale supplier."

Second, the legislation added a new subparagraph, Fla. Stat. Ann. sec. 365.172(8)(a)2, to address collecting the fee from subscribers using digital transmission links and service. Under this new provision, voice communications service providers (other than wireless providers) will now bill the E911 fee to subscribers of digital transmission links based on the number of access lines being provided per service identified, up to a maximum of 25 access lines per account being billed where the place of primary use is within the state. Digital transmission links include primary rate interface (PRI) service, which provides users with 23 voice-grade equivalent access lines, and digital signal-1-level (DS1) service, which provides users with 24 voice-grade equivalent access lines. Providers may list the fee as a separate line item on each bill.

Also, the legislation makes it make clear that the fee is not to be collected from the sale of the prepaid wireless service before July 1, 2013.

Providers of communications services that fall within Florida's new parameters should evaluate their services for applicability of the law and make adjustments for compliance if necessary.

This legislation also provides that local governments may choose to indemnify local exchange carriers against liability in accordance with a company's published schedule.

We have previously reported on similar law changes here and here.

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