§ 39-21.1-1 Purpose.
(a) The purpose of this chapter is to establish the number 911 as the primary emergency telephone number for use in the state and to develop and improve emergency communications procedures and facilities with the objective of reducing the response time to emergency calls for law enforcement, fire, medical, rescue, and other emergency services.
(b) It is hereby declared by the general assembly that:
(1) Availability and type of 9-1-1 service in the state. The citizens of this state enjoy enhanced 9-1-1 service where a public safety answering point (PSAP) telecommunicator receives the 9-1-1 call, the pertinent information about the nature and location of the emergency by questioning the caller, and confirms the telephone number and address of the calling party. E 9-1-1 saves lives and property by helping emergency services personnel do their jobs more quickly and efficiently.
(2) E 9-1-1 capabilities. E 9-1-1 information includes Automatic Location Identification (ALI), which permits the prompt dispatch of emergency assistance to the street address of the wireline phone. This capability is especially important where the caller is disoriented, disabled, unable to speak or does not know his or her location. ALI also reduces the errors in reporting the location of the emergency and in forwarding accurate information to emergency personnel. Automatic Number Identification (ANI) allows the number of the calling party to be displayed at the PSAP. With ANI, the PSAP can call back the party if the call is disconnected. The general assembly finds that ALI and ANI are critical components of effective emergency services.
(3) Wireless 9-1-1 capabilities. Mobility, the primary advantage of wireless technologies, creates complexities for providing E 9-1-1 service, necessitating special action for wireless E 9-1-1 services.
(4) The need for wireless E 9-1-1 services. It has been reported that the total number of wireless subscribers in the United States exceeds 42 million, and 9.6 million new subscribers were added in 1995 alone. Currently, there are almost thirty thousand (30,000) new wireless subscribers each day, amounting to a forty percent (40%) annual growth rate. Industry studies report that a majority of new subscribers cite safety and security as a primary reason for purchasing a mobile phone. These statistics underscore the growing popularity of mobile communications. With this growth, wireless customers place a large and increasing portion of 9-1-1 emergency calls received by PSAP's. In 1994 alone, almost eighteen million (18,000,000) wireless calls were made nationwide to 9-1-1 and other public service numbers. It is in the health and safety interests of the citizens of this state that wireless 9-1-1 services be enhanced to provide critical ALI and ANI information.
(5) The FCC Mandate for Wireless E 9-1-1. In July, 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took several important steps to foster major improvements in the quality and reliability of wireless 9-1-1 services (FCC Docket No. 94-102). The FCC directed wireless carriers to deliver wireless E 9-1-1 information to PSAP's by April 1, 1998. The FCC also directed that wireless carriers, by October 1, 2001, identify to the PSAP the latitude and longitude of a mobile unit making an E 9-1-1 call within a radius of no more than one hundred twenty-five (125) meters in sixty-seven percent (67%) of all cases.
(6) PSAP'S Ability to Receive Wireless E 9-1-1 Information. Currently, E 9-1-1 does not have the necessary systems, facilities, and trained personnel to receive ANI and ALI on wireless calls. It is in the health and safety interests of the citizens of this state that PSAP's have the capability to receive and process wireless E 9-1-1 calls, and to require standards of quality of service, performance of service, and technological compliance of all providers of telecommunication services.
(7) Conditions for Providing Wireless E 9-1-1. The FCC mandate only applies if (a) PSAP's capable of receiving and utilizing the data elements associated with the E 9-1-1 services formally request such services from the wireless carriers in their jurisdiction and (b) a mechanism for the recovery of costs relating to the provision of such services is available. The FCC left it to each state to ensure that a mechanism is in place to permit carriers to recover costs associated with providing E 9-1-1 services. The general assembly finds that it is in the public interest to ensure that the conditions imposed by the FCC on wireless carriers to provide E 9-1-1 services are met as soon as possible so that the citizens of this state will have more reliable and efficient wireless emergency services.
(8) The Need for a Funding Mechanism. Wireline Enhanced 9-1-1 services in the state are funded by telephone subscribers. Wireless 9-1-1 services are not funded. Funding for wireless E 9-1-1 service will be necessary to ensure PSAP's have the necessary systems to be capable of receiving E 9-1-1 information from wireless carriers. Further, given the continued rise in the use of wireless communications, PSAP's will experience increasing demand and incur additional costs for ongoing operation and maintenance of the emergency 9-1-1 system. Wireless carriers will incur costs to upgrade systems to be capable of meeting the FCC mandate and will incur a continuous cost in providing E 9-1-1 information. The general assembly finds that the principal purpose of wireless E 9-1-1 funding is for wireless carriers to recover the costs of providing E 9-1-1 services and therefore to fulfill the FCC mandate.
(9) Establishment and Purpose of an E 9-1-1 Emergency Services Fund. To ensure that adequate and sustained funding for E 9-1-1 statewide emergency services exists so that wireless and wireline E 9-1-1 systems can be implemented, maintained, and provided at optimum technical levels, and E 9-1-1 services performed at optimum skill levels, the legislature finds that it is necessary and proper to establish a "9-1-1 emergency services fund." The 9-1-1 emergency services fund shall be the cost recovery mechanism for all E 9-1-1 service providers and shall serve as the means through which PSAP upgrades, including upgrades required to receive E 9-1-1 information from wireless carriers may be implemented and maintained.
Given the complexity of providing E 9-1-1 services, the general assembly finds that it is appropriate to provide immunity from civil liability for landline and wireless E 9-1-1 service providers. Further, the general assembly finds that to encourage innovation in the provision of emergency services, it is in the public interest to also extend immunity by statute to any person that provides equipment or services for the establishment, maintenance, or operation of E 9-1-1 services. Immunity would not extend to willful or wanton acts of misconduct by the E 9-1-1 service provider or its employees and agents.
(P.L. 1986, ch. 152, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 123, § 1.)