Communications Officers Chad Jenkins and Michelle Schneider handle calls in the Roswell Police 911 Center in 2010. AJC FILE PHOTO

Prepaid phone fees will double in Georgia

Fees on prepaid cellphones in Georgia are increasing from 75 cents to $1.50.

The fee increase is included in a 911 funding bill signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal last week.

The $1.50 fee on prepaid phones will be charged on each retail transaction, according to House Bill 751. Other wireless and landline phone customers already pay a $1.50 fee on their monthly bills.

Under prepaid phone plans, customers pay up-front for phones and data without a contract.

The fee will help fund equipment upgrades at 911 centers, such as the ability for the public to send text messages, photos and videos, according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

“With the implementation of HB 751, local jurisdictions operating 911 centers will receive increased funding and will be able to provide better service to our citizens throughout the state of Georgia,” said Harris County Chairman Harry Lange, president of ACCG.

The legislation also allows local governments to find out information about the accuracy of 911 fee collections.

Prepaid phone 911 fees dropped by about $5 million from 2016 to 2017 because of a tax refund. Information about the refund was confidential under Georgia privacy laws.

The prepaid phone fee increase takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, according to HB 751.

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