Saturday, 2:15 PM
Surcharge changes ahead on telephone bill
By Globe Staff
Massachusetts residents will see a reduction of as much as 24 cents a month in a surcharge on landline telephones on their bills in a couple of months, but an increase of 45 cents in the surcharge on their cellphones.
Under a law signed by Governor Deval Patrick last week, the fee for both land and cellphone lines will be set at 75 cents.
The new fees are expected to boost funding for the state's 911 telephone system from $53 million to $70 million, said John Grossman, undersecretary of public safety for forensic science and technology.
Grossman said the state wanted to provide increased support to local communities for their 911 costs and offer funding to encourage regionalization of 911 answering points. Currently, there are more than 260 such points, he said.
"That's too many," he said. "It compromises public safety and it's inefficient."
Up until now, the surcharge has been 85 to 99 cents for landlines and 30 cents for cellphones. Grossman said officials believed it would be fairer if the rate were the same for both types of lines. He said the new surcharge is expected to appear on people's bills in October.
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