Landlines hurt bottom lines

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

It seems everyone now has a cell phone. The portable phone has all but replaced landlines for some families. That means trouble for 911 centers in the area.

In an industry where every second matters, a loss of funding could be a game changer.

"It's a concern that we lose that many landline customers. We have to make up that money lost," said Steve Pennington, with Laurel County 911.

"That's going to be a struggle here in our area when we're losing those numbers, as to what do we do," said Chief Stewart Walker, with London City Police.

Laurel County loses about 400 landline telephone customers each year. The dispatch center gets $2.50 from each landline customer to fund expenses.

Statistics from the U.S. Government show cell phone usage surpassed landline usage back in 2006.

Leaders are trying to come up with ways to recoup the Laurel County 911 Center's lost dollars. But they said that is not easy.

"You don't want to lose that response time or the ability to get that call dispatched in a timely fashion," said Walker.

Officials said raising the 911 surcharge is one option. But it would likely be just a temporary fix as folks continue to get rid of their landline phones.

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