Title 39
Public Utilities and Carriers

Chapter 21.1
911 Emergency Telephone Number Act

R.I. Gen. Laws 39-21.1-14



 39-21.1-14.  E-911 surcharge and first response surcharge.


(a) (1) A monthly E-911 surcharge of fifty cents ($.50) is hereby levied upon each residence and business telephone line or trunk, or path and data, telephony, internet, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) wireline, line, trunk, or path in the state including PBX trunks and centrex equivalent trunks and each line or trunk serving, and upon each user interface number or extension number or similarly identifiable line, trunk, or path to or from a digital network (such as, but not exclusive of, integrated services digital network (ISDN), Flexpath, or comparable digital private branch exchange, or connecting to or from a customer-based or dedicated telephone switch site (such as, but not exclusive of, a private branch exchange (PBX)), or connecting to or from a customer-based or dedicated central office (such as, but not exclusive of, a centrex system but exclusive of trunks and lines provided to wireless communication companies) that can access to, connect with, or interface with the Rhode Island E-911 uniform emergency telephone system (RI E-911). In each instance where a surcharge is levied pursuant to this subsection (a)(1) there shall also be a monthly first response surcharge of fifty cents ($.50). The surcharges shall be billed by each telecommunication services provider at the inception of services and shall be payable to the telecommunication services provider by the subscriber of the services.

(2) A monthly E-911 surcharge of fifty cents ($.50) is hereby levied on each wireless instrument, device, or means, including prepaid, cellular, telephony, internet, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), satellite, computer, radio, communication, data or data only wireless lines, or any other wireless instrument, device, or means that has access to, connects with, or activates or interfaces or any combination thereof with the E-911 uniform emergency telephone system. In each instance where a surcharge is levied pursuant to this subsection (a)(2) there shall also be a monthly first response surcharge of seventy-five cents ($.75). The surcharges shall be billed by each telecommunication services provider and shall be payable to the telecommunication services provider by the subscriber. Prepaid wireless telecommunications services shall not be included in this act, but shall be governed by chapter 21.2 of this title. The E-911 uniform emergency telephone system shall establish, by rule or regulation, an appropriate funding mechanism to recover from the general body of ratepayers this surcharge.

(b) The amount of the surcharges shall not be subject to the tax imposed under chapter 18 of title 44 nor be included within the telephone common carrier's gross earnings for the purpose of computing the tax under chapter 13 of title 44.

(c) Each telephone common carrier and each telecommunication services provider shall establish a special account to which it shall deposit on a monthly basis the amounts collected as surcharges under this section.

(d) The money collected by each telecommunication services provider shall be transferred within sixty (60) days after its inception of wireline, wireless, prepaid, cellular, telephony, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), satellite, computer, internet, or communications services in this state and every month thereafter, to the division of taxation, together with the accrued interest. The E-911 surcharge shall be deposited in a restricted-receipt account and used solely for the operation of the E-911 uniform emergency telephone system. The first response surcharge shall be deposited in the general fund; provided, however, that ten percent (10%) of the money collected from the first response surcharge shall be deposited in the information technology investment fund established pursuant to 42-11-2.5. Any money not transferred in accordance with this subsection shall be assessed interest at the rate set forth in 44-1-7 from the date the money should have been transferred.

(e) Every billed subscriber-user shall be liable for any surcharge imposed under this section until it has been paid to the telephone common carrier or telecommunication services provider. Any surcharge shall be added to and shall be stated separately in the billing by the telephone common carrier or telecommunication services provider and shall be collected by the telephone common carrier or telecommunication services provider.

(f) Each telephone common carrier and telecommunication services provider shall annually provide the E-911 uniform emergency telephone system division, or any other agency that may replace it, with a list of amounts uncollected, together with the names and addresses of its subscriber-users who can be determined by the telephone common carrier or telecommunication services provider to have not paid the E-911 surcharge.

(g) Included within, but not limited to, the purposes for which the money collected from the E-911 surcharge may be used, are rent, lease, purchase, improvement, construction, maintenance, repair, and utilities for the equipment and site or sites occupied by the E-911 uniform emergency telephone system; salaries, benefits, and other associated personnel costs; acquisition, upgrade, or modification of PSAP equipment to be capable of receiving E-911 information, including necessary computer hardware, software, and database provisioning, addressing, and non-recurring costs of establishing emergency services; network development, operation, and maintenance; database development, operation, and maintenance; on-premise equipment maintenance and operation; training emergency service personnel regarding use of E-911; educating consumers regarding the operations, limitations, role, and responsible use of E-911; reimbursement to telephone common carriers or telecommunication services providers of rates or recurring costs associated with any services, operation, administration, or maintenance of E-911 services as approved by the division; reimbursement to telecommunication services providers or telephone common carriers of other costs associated with providing E-911 services, including the cost of the design, development, and implementation of equipment or software necessary to provide E-911 service information to PSAPs, as approved by the division.

(h) [Deleted by P.L. 2000, ch. 55, art. 28, 1.]

(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to constitute rate regulation of wireless communication services carriers, nor shall this section be construed to prohibit wireless communication services carriers from charging subscribers for any wireless service or feature.

(j) [Deleted by P.L. 2006, ch. 246, art. 4, 1.]

History of Section.
P.L. 1986, ch. 152, 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 236, 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 133, art. 65, 2; P.L. 1993, ch. 138, art. 73, 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 123, 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 31, art. 9, 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 150, 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 55, art. 28, 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 160, 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 65, art. 13, 15; P.L. 2005, ch. 365, 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 246, art. 4, 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 4, 2; P.L. 2010, ch. 23, art. 9, 11; P.L. 2014, ch. 145, art. 9, 5; P.L. 2018, ch. 47, art. 7, 9; P.L. 2019, ch. 88, art. 2, 8.