Public Utilities and Carriers
Public Utilities Commission
§ 39-1-62 E-911 Geographic Information
System (GIS) and Technology Fund.
(a) Preamble. To allow the Rhode Island E-911 Emergency Telephone System
agency to associate latitude and longitude coordinates provided by wireless
carriers with physical locations throughout the state, the agency must
establish and maintain a GIS database of street addresses and landmarks. The
database will allow local emergency response personnel to dispatch police, fire
and rescue personnel to a specific address or landmark of a cellular caller in
the event the caller is unaware of his or her location, or is physically unable
to communicate it. Because more than half of the 530,000 9-1-1 phone calls
received in 2003 came from cellular phones, it is critical that the GIS
database be developed and maintained in order to improve caller location
identification and reduce emergency personnel response times.
(b) Definitions. As used in this section, the
following terms have the following meanings:
(1) "System" means Emergency 911 Uniform Telephone System.
(2) "Agency" means Rhode Island 911 Emergency Telephone
(3) "Division" means the Division of Public Utilities and
(4) "GIS and Technology Fund" means the programs and funding
made available to the Emergency 911 Uniform Telephone System to assist in
paying the costs of the GIS database development project and GIS systems
maintenance, which will enable the system to locate cellular phone callers by
geocoding all addresses and landmarks in cities and towns throughout the state.
GIS and Technology Fund also includes programs and funding to create system
redundancy, fund the construction of a new E-911 facility, and operate and
maintain other state-of-the-art equipment in public safety agencies.
(5) "Prepaid wireless E911 telecommunications service" means
a wireless telecommunications service that allows a caller to dial 911 to
access the 911 system, which service must be paid for in advance and is sold in
predetermined units or dollars of which the number declines with use in a known
(c) Purpose. The purpose of the GIS and Technology
Fund shall be to:
(1) Implement and maintain a geographic information system
database to assist in locating wireless phone callers for emergency purposes in
a manner consistent and in coordination with the Rhode Island geographic
information system administered by the Division of Planning as provided for in
§ 42-11-10(g)(3); and
(2) Create system redundancy to ensure the reliability of
9-1-1 service to the public;
(3) Operate and maintain other state-of-the-art equipment in
public safety agencies; and
(4) Fund the construction of a new E-911 facility.
(d) Authority. The agency shall establish, by rule or
regulation, an appropriate funding mechanism to recover from the general body
of ratepayers the costs of funding GIS and technology projects.
(1) The general assembly shall determine the amount of a
monthly surcharge to be levied upon each wireless instrument, device or means
including cellular, telephony, Internet, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP),
satellite, computer, radio, communication, data, or any other wireless
instrument, device or means that has access to, connects with, interfaces with
or is capable of delivering two-way interactive communications services to the
Rhode Island E-911 Uniform Emergency Telephone System. Prepaid wireless E911
telecommunications services shall not be included in this act, but shall be
governed by chapter 21.2 of title 39. The agency will provide the general
assembly with information and recommendations regarding the necessary level of
funding to effectuate the purposes of this article. The surcharge shall be
billed monthly by each wireless telecommunications services provider as defined
in § 39-21.1-3, which shall not include prepaid wireless E911
telecommunications service, and shall be payable to the wireless
telecommunications services provider by the subscriber of the
telecommunications services. Each telecommunication services provider shall
establish a special (escrow) account to which it shall deposit on a monthly
basis the amounts collected as a surcharge under this section. The money
collected by each wireless telecommunication services provider shall be
transferred within sixty (60) days after its inception of wireless, cellular,
telephony, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), satellite, computer, Internet,
or communications, information or data services in this state and every month
thereafter. Any money not transferred in accordance with this paragraph shall
be assessed interest at the rate set forth in § 44-1-7 from the date the
money should have been transferred. State, local and quasi-governmental
agencies shall be exempt from the surcharge. The surcharge shall be deposited
in restricted receipt account, hereby created within the agency and known as
the GIS and Technology Fund, to pay any and all costs associated with the
provisions of subsection (c). Beginning July 1, 2007, the surcharge shall be
deposited in the general fund as general revenues to pay any and all costs
associated with the provisions of subsection (c). The GIS and Technology Fund
restricted receipt account shall be terminated June 30, 2008. The amount of the
surcharge under this section shall not exceed thirty-five cents ($.35) per
(2) The surcharge is hereby determined to be twenty-six cents
($.26) per wireless phone, cellular, telephony, Voice Over Internet Protocol
(VoIP), satellite, computer, data or data only wireless lines or Internet
communication or data instrument, device or means which has access to, connects
with, activates or interfaces with or any combination of the above with the
Rhode Island E-911 Uniform Emergency Telephone System per month and shall be in
addition to the wireless surcharge charged under § 39-21.1-14. The
twenty-six cents ($.26) is to be billed to all wireless telecommunication
service providers, subscribers upon the inception of services.
(3) The amount of the surcharge shall not be subject to the
sales and use tax imposed under chapter 18 of title 44 nor be included within
the gross earnings of the telecommunications corporation providing
telecommunications service for the purpose of computing the tax under chapter
13 of title 44.
(4) [Deleted by P.L. 2010, ch. 23, art. 9, §
(e) Administration. The division of taxation shall
collect monthly from the wireless telecommunications service providers as
defined in § 39-21.1-3, and which shall not include prepaid wireless E911
telecommunications service, the amounts of the surcharge collected from their
subscribers. The division of taxation shall deposit such collections in the
general fund as general revenues for use in developing and maintaining the
geographic information system database, creating system redundancy, funding the
construction of a new E-911 facility and operating and maintaining other
state-of-the-art equipment for public safety agencies. The agency is further
authorized and encouraged to seek matching funds from all local, state, and
federal public or private entities and shall coordinate its activities and
share all information with the state Division of Planning.
(f) Effective date. The effective date of assessment
for the GIS and Technology Fund shall be July 1, 2004.
(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to constitute
rate regulation of wireless communications services carriers, nor shall this
section be construed to prohibit wireless communications services carriers from
charging subscribers for any wireless service or feature.
(h) Except as otherwise provided by law, the agency shall not
use, disclose or otherwise make available call location information for any
purpose other than as specified in subsection (c).
(i) The attorney general shall, at the request of the E-911
uniform emergency telephone system division, or any other agency that may
replace it, or on its own initiative, commence judicial proceedings in the
superior court against any telecommunication services provider as defined in
§ 39-21.1-3(11) providing communication services to enforce the provisions
of this chapter.
History of Section.
(P.L. 2004, ch. 595, art. 31, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 365, § 1; P.L.
2006, ch. 246, art. 4, § 3; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 4, § 1; P.L.
2010, ch. 23, art. 9, § 10.)