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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE II EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS
    OF THE COMMONWEALTH
  • CHAPTER 6A EXECUTIVE OFFICES
  • Section 18H Wireless enhanced 911 service surcharge; collection; adjustment; expenditures; revenues; monthly reports; forwarding and use of call data; disposition of call volume

Section 18H. (a) There shall be imposed on each subscriber or end user whose communication services are capable of accessing and utilizing an enhanced 911 system, a surcharge in the amount of 75 cents per month for expenses associated with services provided under sections 18A to 18J, inclusive, and sections 14A and 15E of chapter 166. For wireline enhanced 911 service, the charge shall be imposed on each voice grade exchange telephone line of business and residence customers within the commonwealth, but the surcharge applicable to centrex service and ISDN primary rate interface service shall be based on an equivalency ratio provided to each private branch exchange trunk. For wireless enhanced 911 service, the charge shall be imposed per wireless mobile telephone number, based on the area code chosen by the subscriber or end user. With the approval of the department, a wireless carrier may impose this surcharge based on the subscriber’s or end user’s billing address or other manner consistent with federal law. For interconnected VoIP provider service, the charge shall be imposed on each voice grade telephone line of business and residence customers within the commonwealth, but the surcharge applicable to such interconnected VoIP provider service that is comparable to centrex service and ISDN primary rate interface service associated with wireline enhanced 911 service shall be based on an equivalency ratio similar to that used for wireline enhanced 911 service. For IP-enabled service, the charge shall be imposed based on the subscriber’s or end user’s billing address in the commonwealth except for interconnected VoIP provider service, unless a different method is approved by the department. For prepaid wireless service, the department shall promulgate regulations establishing an equitable and reasonable method for the remittance and collection of the surcharge or surcharge amounts for such service. For all other services not identified above, the surcharge shall be imposed based on the subscriber’s billing address in the commonwealth, unless a different method is approved by the department.

The surcharge shall be collected by the communication service provider and shall be shown on the subscriber’s or end user’s bill as “Disability Access/Enhanced 911 Service Surcharge”, or an appropriate abbreviation. The surcharge shall not be subject to sales or use tax. The subscriber or end user shall be liable for the surcharge imposed under this section, and the communication service provider shall not be financially liable for surcharges billed on behalf of the commonwealth but not collected from subscribers or end users. Partial subscriber or end user payments shall be first applied to outstanding communication service provider charges.

(b) The department may petition the department of telecommunications and cable for an adjustment in the surcharge established in subsection (a). The department of telecommunications and cable shall be responsible for establishing the new surcharge, and all future surcharges, upon petition of the department. The department of telecommunications and cable, at its discretion but not more than once per calendar year, may investigate the prudence of the department’s revenue and expenditures for the purpose of recalculating the surcharge, and may hire experts to assist in its investigation. The reasonable cost of such experts shall be charged to the Enhanced 911 Fund, but in no event shall such cost exceed $200,000, which may be adjusted to reflect changes in the consumer price index. The department of telecommunications and cable shall conduct its review and issue a decision within 90 days of the date of the commencement of the investigation, but the surcharge shall be deemed approved if the department of telecommunications and cable does not issue its decision within such 90 days. The department of telecommunications and cable shall adopt rules that provide for the funding of prudently incurred expenses associated with services provided by sections 18A to 18J, inclusive, and sections 14A and 15E of chapter 166, by means of the surcharge. The department shall report annually to the department of telecommunications and cable on the financial condition of the Enhanced 911 Fund and on the department’s assessment of new developments affecting the enhanced 911 system. The report shall be submitted to the department of telecommunications and cable within 60 days of the end of each fiscal year. The department of telecommunications and cable shall file an annual report with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate relative to the financial condition of the Enhanced 911 Fund.

(c) The department shall seek the approval of the department of telecommunications and cable for projected total expenditures that exceed total expenditures of the previous fiscal year by 10 per cent or more. The department of telecommunications and cable may investigate the reasonableness of the expenditures and shall conduct its review and issue a decision within 90 days from the date the department files its request for approval, but the request for approval shall be deemed approved if the department of telecommunications and cable does not issue its decision within such 90 days. The department of telecommunications and cable shall notify the department of its intent to investigate within 20 days of the date the department files its request for approval. The department’s request for approval shall be deemed approved in the absence of the department of telecommunication and cable’s notification to the department of its intent to investigate. If the department of telecommunication and cable notifies the department that it intends to investigate an expenditure, the department of telecommunications and cable may hire experts to assist in its investigation. The reasonable cost of the experts shall be charged to the Enhanced 911 Fund, but in no event shall such cost exceed $200,000, which may be adjusted to reflect changes in the consumer price index.

(d) Each communication service provider shall remit the surcharge revenues collected from its subscribers or end users to the state treasurer for deposit in the Enhanced 911 Fund. The surcharge revenues shall be expended for the administration and programs of the department including, but not limited to, salaries, enhanced 911 training programs, enhanced 911 public education programs, the creation of PSAP customer premises equipment for, and maintenance of, primary and regional PSAPs, the programs mandated by section 18B and sections 14A and 15E of chapter 166, and for the implementation and administration of enhanced 911 service in the commonwealth.

(e) Each communication service provider required to remit surcharge revenues shall submit to the department and the department of telecommunications and cable information on its business entity including, but not limited to, name, business address, contact person and the telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of such contact person. Each such provider shall update this information annually.

(f) Each communication service provider shall report to the department on a monthly basis the total surcharge revenues collected from its subscribers or end users during the preceding month, the total uncollected surcharge revenues from subscribers or end users during the preceding month, the total amount billed to the department for administration costs to cover the expenses of billing, collecting and remitting the surcharge during the preceding month, and the total amount billed to the department for non-recurring and recurring costs associated with any service, operation, administration or maintenance of enhanced 911 service during the preceding month. Such monthly report shall not be a public record under clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 or section 10 of chapter 66.

(g) A communication service provider shall forward to any PSAP or any other answering point equipped for enhanced 911 service, or upon request consistent with federal law, to a municipal, state, or federal law enforcement agency, the department of telecommunications and cable, the FCC or the department, the telephone number and street address or location of any telephone used to place a 911 call, and any other call data or information required by the FCC to be transmitted to a PSAP.

Subscriber or end user information or data provided in accordance with this section shall be used, consistent with federal law, only for the purpose of responding to emergency calls, administering and operating the enhanced 911 system and providing enhanced 911 service, or for use in any ensuing investigation or prosecution, including the investigation of false or intentionally misleading reports of incidents requiring emergency service. No communication service provider or officers, directors, employees, vendors or agents shall be liable in any action to any person for releases of information authorized by this section or for civil action resulting from or caused by such providers for participation or omissions in the development, installation, operation, maintenance, performance or provision of enhanced 911 service except for wanton or willful misconduct. Release to or use by any person of a communication service provider’s subscriber or end user information or data for any use other than the purposes enumerated in this subsection shall be prohibited. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, such information or data shall not be a public record under clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 or section 10 of chapter 66, except that aggregated information that does not identify or effectively identify specific subscriber or end user information or data may be made public.

(h) The department shall examine call volumes of all primary, regional and regional secondary PSAPs, and the population changes of the municipalities they serve, and may use such information in determining the disbursement of funds as set forth in section 18B.