MagicJack 911 Service- No Longer Free?

Expect to be Billed for MagicJack 911 Service

Call center for magicJack 911 callsMagicJack 911 service has been free, largely due to a technicality in FCC regulations. In 2006, the FCC told magicJack to begin paying for 911 call center operations. MagicJack claimed the FCC regulation didn’t apply the them, since magicJack LP provides incoming call service, while YMax Communications provides outgoing calls. Since neither company provides both sides of the conversation, magicJack claimed it was not subject to the 911 surcharge.

Court Filings Lead to 911 Fees

All that changed when officials from Kanawha County, WV filed a complaint, claiming magicJack was not collecting 911 fees as required by the FCC. MagicJack settled the matter out of court in 2011, agreeing to pay the fees.

Other municipalities soon began requiring magicJack to pay 911 fees to support their call centers. For this reason, magicJack 911 service will no longer be free. Fees for 911 service vary widely in different parts of the country. MagicJack has indicated it will pass through local 911 surcharges without any markup.

911 Payments to MagicJack are not Mandatory

Payment of the magicJack 911 billing is not mandatory, however. If you elect not to pay the fee, magicJack will simply turn off your 911 service. Does that leave you without access to emergency services? Not at all – in many locations there are alternate phone numbers to access the same services. If alternate number(s) are available in your area, you could use MagicFeatures to set up speed dial numbers for emergencies. The FCC maintains an online registry of public safety answering points (PSAPs).  Using their spreadsheet, you can find emergency phone numbers for your community which are outside the 911 system.

Alternate Emergency Numbers

Be aware that using these alternate emergency numbers will route your call through non-priority channels, and that your location is not automatically transmitted when you make the call. You are not using the 911 system, but you will have alternate emergency phone numbers in place in the event you need fire, police, or ambulance personnel to respond quickly to an emergency.