07/31/2014 10:26 EDT | Updated 09/30/2014 05:59 EDT

Cellphone bill levy dials up big dollars for Alberta's growing 911 call volume

EDMONTON - Alberta's 21 emergency call centres can start dialing up faster and more efficient service thanks to about $2 million collected so far from a levy on cellphone bills in the province.

The levy, amounting to 44 cents a month, was brought in April 1 as part of the provincial government's Emergency 911 Act.

Previously, only landline users contributed directly to the cost of 911 services.

Municipal Affairs Minister Greg Weadick says officials are now finding that more than 70 per cent of all emergency calls come from cellphones.

Money collected to this point will be put toward managing increased call volumes at the centres, as well as upgrading resources and technology. (CHQR)