Where do your 911 fees go and why does 911 fail

The FCC published its annual report on state 911 fees

The report finds that in 2019, states and territories collected more than $3 billion in 911 fees, and more than $200 million of that funding was diverted for uses other than 911.

You can look up your individual state's 911 report here

In case you are interested in Tennessee's 911 service resiliancy:

The project, referred to as NG911, involves utilization of the State’s secure, private, outsourced Multiprotocol Label Switching (“MPLS”) network called “NetTN,” provided by AT&T and managed by Strategic Technology Solutions (“STS”) in the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration. The new network improves redundancy, reliability, and 911 call delivery. It enhances interoperability and increases the ease of
communication between ECDs, allowing immediate transfer of 911 calls, caller information, and other data on a statewide level. NG911 will also provide alternate paths to process emergency calls in the event of an outage, providing lifesaving capabilities in the event of an emergency that would have been unachievable on the outdated analog network.

In fiscal year 2019, the TECB spent $11,224,726 million implementing and maintaining the NG911 project: $6,974,790 to integrate with and adapt the Net TN system for NG911 purposes; $780,966 for non-recurring start-up costs of the statewide hosted controller or Call Handling as a Service program; $3,451,369 to maintain the twenty-four hour network operations center to assist PSAPs with technical issues; and $17,600 for Esri GIS software licensing.

This isn’t the place where state governments are looking for feedback, so surely this will fall on deaf ears, but…

Who runs 911 services on top of a single carrier solution? I wouldn’t run a 10 seat mom and pop outfit without at least a cellular backup on a different carrier.

911 services are certainly not treated as critical as the public is led to believe. Not that anyone here is surprised by this, but hopefully positive change can come out of this otherwise horrible event.


The massive 911 failure in WA state a few years ago was ultimately caused by a failure in CenturyLink/legacy qwest transport equipment, where the PSAP register was physically located in Colorado and inaccessible from the point of view of network equipment in WA.

Its impressive for nearly all (not all) service was restored in central Tennessee, southern Kentucky, and northern Alabama within a few days.

It took months to repair Puerto Rico telecommunications after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Puerto Rico lost over 95% of telecommunication services, although there were some minimum essential facilties which stayed in operation.

Ultimately how much critical resliliancy exists is a policy debate, not an engineering problem, to solve.

Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite.