Love County Lagging in Life-Saving 911 Response
Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Love County is one of only 17 counties in Oklahoma that has not implemented telephone service fees in any community to upgrade its 911 system, according to the statewide 911 advisory board.
Put another way, the risk to life and property is relatively greater here than in the other 60 counties because of the added time it takes fire, police, and ambulance to find emergency scenes.
A remedy is the one Love County voters will address on December 8. Adopting telephone service fees is the means provided for counties to upgrade 911 equipment and implement addressing and mapping of homes and businesses.
Then, rather than depend on the 911 caller to state their location or driving directions, the call-taker will see the location of the caller on a computerized map and be able to dispatch emergency services faster and more accurately.
The maximum 911 service fees are set by law at $.50 per month for cell phones and 15% of the “basic local service” for landlines.
In the 276 telephone exchange, AT&T landline customers would pay a 911 service fee of $2.40 residential or $5.25 business for enhanced 911, according to data provided by AT&T.
Those fees are 15% of the AT&T basic local service of $16 for residential landlines and $35 for business landlines.
“Basic local service” means the base access line charge for telephone service. The 911 service fee does not apply to any portion of the monthly phone bill above the basic local service cost.
A residential customer with basic, no frills telephone service will see a basic local service rate of $16 on the monthly AT&T statement.
If the customer has a calling plan with add-ons such as call blocker, call return, or caller i.d., a total charge for the calling plan is shown on the statement, but the 911 service fees are still based on the lower basic local service rate of $16.
Non-276 exchange customers and customers with other telephone companies may have slightly different basic local service costs. By checking their monthly phone bill or contacting the phone company, they can learn their basic local service rate then multiply by 15% to arrive at their 911 service fee.
Residential customers of Chickasaw Telephone will pay $2.10.
Customers on Cox Cable telephone (VOIP) will pay $.50 per month, same as cellphones.
Ronnie Freeman, E911 Public Safety Executive for AT&T, provided a breakdown of prospective 911 landline service fees for Love County, based on 2009 basic local service rates (see chart).
Freeman could give no total on the number of cell phones registered in the county. Estimates are that they equal or exceed the number of landlines.
To learn more about how Love County 911 service compares to the rest of the state, the 911 statewide advisory board has a website address, www.ok.gov/911. The telephone number is (405) 234-2264.
Toni Peery of Jimtown is chair of the Love County E911 Planning Committee. She is at (580) 276-5333.