This week, WTA released a brief report highlighting the need and rational for engaging in contributions reform by expanding the base of contributors to the Universal Service Fund.
Today, Senator Senator Tim Johnson (SD) and 35 other Senators sent a letter to the FCC encouraging it to aggressively pursue voice service providers who are not completing calls to consumers and businesses in rural America.
The letter urges the FCC to “use all authorized and appropriate enforcement powers to take action against parties found to be engaging in the prohibited activities outlined in the Commission’s [February 2012] Declaratory Ruling.” More specifically, the letter urges the FCC to expedite an “investigation by requiring the originating provider to submit network performance data” if an originating provider is suspected of violating the Declaratory Ruling. The network performance data should include “a detailed analysis of call completion rates.” “Materially greater failure rates than calls to urban areas” should trigger further investigation, including whether or not the provider uses a least-cost router, said the Senators.
“On behalf of the WTA membership, I want to thank Senator Johnson and his colleagues for their leadership on this matter, said Kelly Worthington, WTA’s executive vice president. We are grateful that over a third of the U.S. Senate understands how important this issue is to people who live in rural America. This is a public safety issue, a consumer issue, a business issue, and a health care issue. Because of this problem, families are unable to call one another, rural businesses are losing existing customers as well as potential new business opportunities, and rural citizens are having a very difficult time getting vital health information from health care providers. The lack of calls being completed to rural areas has persisted for far too long and the FCC needs to crack down immediately on those who aren’t completing calls.”Call Completion
On November 14th, representatives from NECA, NTCA, WTA and OPASTCO met with the FCC to discuss the results of a survey that found that consumer complaints about occurrences of calls failing to complete to rural communities are steady or getting worse. In addition, a briefing was held for Senate telecom staff on the issue on the 15th. The associations issued a press release.Call Completion
Over the past month, Senators and Representatives have sent the following letters to the FCC regarding the USF/ICC Order and FNPRM:
April 3rd – Letter sent by Senators Mark Begich (AK) and John Thune (SD) and 17 other Senators
April 4th – Letter sent by Congressman Luetkemeyer (MO) and 53 other Representatives
April 16th – Letter sent by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota
April 18th – Letter sent by Congressman Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton of Colorado
April 19th – Letter sent by Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman of Arkansas
April 20th – Letter sent by Senators John Thune, Tim Johnson and Congresswoman Kristi Noem of South DakotaUSF/ICC Reform