On May 13th, NECA, WTA, NTCA, and ERTA filed comments on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on rules intended to curb the practice of some carriers not completing calls in rural areas. In a press release, the associations stated that “many of the NPRM’s proposals will help the FCC, industry and consumers track the problems and pursue enforcement action, some of those proposals require clarification and refinement to aid in such efforts.”
Today, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on rules to help “address problems in the completion of long-distance telephone calls to rural customers.” Comments are due 30 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. Reply comments are due 15 days later.
WTA, NTCA and NECA issued a press release.Call Completion
The Western Telecommunications Alliance (WTA) congratulates Commissioner Mignon Clyburn on her reconfirmation by the U.S. Senate to serve another five years on the Federal Communications Commission.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Commissioner Clyburn and her staff to ensure our member companies have the regulatory environment necessary to continue providing broadband to rural America,” said Kelly Worthington, WTA’s executive vice president.
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