The Federal Communications Commission is contemplating putting a stop to free 911 calls from any cell phone due to misuse. Currently in the United States any cell phone including a phone that has been deactivated ten or more years ago can still be used to call 911.
Tons of organizations collect old cell phones to give away for people who may need a phone for 911 access. They are given to disabled, homeless, domestic violence victims, and even families of members in the armed forces. The problem is only 30% of calls made off of disabled phones are legit calls. The other 70% is false or prank calls.
Currently the Cell Phone Bank and Cell Phones For Soldiers collect used phones and give them away either for 911 access online or in some case so they can be reactivated. They would not be able to do that if this rule change occurs. Hope Phones and Second Wave collect used phones and refurbish or recycle them with proceeds going towards non profits. They may be the only option left to use if you want to donate your old phones.
I am torn on if this is a good idea or not. So many low cost cell phones exist now which did not when these programs started. I can not think of anyone who does not have a cell phone. Can you?
You can comment on this rule change until June 6th at the Federal Registrar.