HERE AT THE NAVAJO COUNCIL HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE MEETING.Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Office Director Brian Tagaban is still making his report on the emergency 911 system. Tagaban handed out a written report. He reported that individuals from the Navajo Reservation have submitted written and verbal complaints about the 911 system. He said that individuals from Black Falls and Kayenta submitted written complaints to him. He is encouraging written complaints to his office from the public. He noted that the majority of the complaints coming to him are that emergency calls are not being picked up at the 911 headquarters.
Across the US, the 911 system is facing problems with emergency texts from cell phones. Nationally, there is recognition that families are no longer using land phones in their homes.
The Telecommunications Office is asking for additional funds to update its equipment. States have laws that are adverse to the tribal 911 system. There is a movement to have state taxes on 911 recovered and return to Navajo residents.
HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMANS SERVICES COMMITTEE MEMBER WALTER PHELPS
911 is very important for Arizona residents. And in New Mexico there is a Universal Fund that is available for funding for 911 system. And so Telecommunications Communications Commission shud work with New Mexico and Arizona. To wat extent has Commission made efforts to access resources from the two states. We have to make aggressive efforts.
There is Universal Service Fund that is charged on phones and that is federal levy and administered by USAP. There are 4 programs under that program and one is LifeLine Program to get low income phones. The other is the High Cost Program to pay for infrastructure and Navajo Rez is high cost area. The othr area is E-Rate to pay for schools and libraries and we are making comments to federals. There is also Rural Health Program. We comment very heavily into those programs/funds. The state also has Universal Service Fund and I’m advisor for Solistice, which administers fund and we recommend tax rates. That account is limited to New Mexico to subsidize cost for connection fees.