FCC addressing rural calling issues

Rural telecommunications providers work through NTCA to encourage government action

By working together and being involved in the regulatory process, rural telecommunications providers are seeing progress toward resolving rural calling issues.

NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association represents the voice of rural providers across America. For three years, NTCA has been working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the issue of rural call completion, where subscribers in rural areas report significant problems receiving long-distance or wireless calls on their landline phones. These problems include failed connections and poor call quality.

The problem appears to lie in the fact that some long-distance and wireless carriers, in an effort to cut costs, are contracting with third-party service providers to route phone calls into rural areas.

In its latest ruling toward the end of 2013, the FCC took steps that the NTCA described in a statement as “positive developments for rural consumers and their loved ones who have suffered the frustration or fear of a call not completing, lost business or endured public safety concerns because of circumstances beyond their control.”

Shirley Bloomfield

Shirley Bloomfield

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA, expressed gratitude for the FCC’s efforts, adding “there is still much work to be done to ensure that no consumer will be cut off from critical communications, but NTCA is hopeful that this order will help to minimize consumer confusion by precluding false ringing, provide immediate incentives for providers to better manage completion of their calls, give the FCC a useful tool in identifying bad actors for enforcement, and serve as a springboard for further conversations about what else remains to be done to achieve truly universal and seamless connectivity.”

As your telecommunications provider, we will continue to keep you updated on this important issue through the pages of this magazine.