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Consumers to fork over cost for province-wide 911 service

Consumers will be footing the bill for 911 service across Newfoundland and Labrador, to be introduced by new provincial legislation.
MHA Steve Kent says the province expects the monthly fee to be less than $1 per month per line for province-wide 911 services. (CBC)

Consumers will be footing the bill for 911 service across Newfoundland and Labrador, to be introduced by new provincial legislation.

The service is set to be implemented by December 2014.

An independent Crown corporation called N.L. 911 Bureau Inc. will be responsible for the service, and will be funded by fees charged to every land line and cell phone.

Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services Steve Kent said government expects the cost to consumers will be less than $1 per line per month.

"It's difficult to determine where that fee will be set at this point. There's still more work to do in the months ahead to determine where exactly we want the fee to be, and need the fee to be," said Kent.

"We looked at other jurisdictions across the country and we certainly want to be comparable. And in all cases, the fee is under $1 currently."

According to Kent, areas without civic addresses will not need them to access 911 services at the end of the year, but once the province moves ahead with getting next generation 911 services in place all households will need a civic address. 

He added municipalities should move forward with implemented civic addresses as soon as possible.

Kent added the new process will not speed up or slow down response time.

Government is planning to have three centres serve as 911 response centres, with the province looking at St. John's, Corner Brook and western Labrador.

According to government, approximately 40 per cent of the province's population is currently covered by basic 911 service.

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