Persistent phone call completion problems in rural communities are creating major inconveniences for families, hurting businesses, and threatening public safety
The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission to establish basic quality standards for providers that transmit voice calls to help ensure businesses, families, and emergency responders can count on phone calls being completed
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Thune (R-SD), and Jon Tester (D-MT) today introduced bipartisan legislation to improve rural call completion. Companion legislation was also introduced today by Representatives David Young (R-IA) and Peter Welch (D-VT) in the House. Persistent phone call completion problems in rural communities are creating major inconveniences for families, hurting businesses, and threatening public safety. The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish basic quality standards for providers that transmit voice calls to help ensure businesses, families, and emergency responders can count on phone calls being completed.
“Call completion problems continue to be a challenge for families, businesses, and emergency responders in our rural communities in Minnesota and across the country,” Klobuchar said. “Small businesses who need to reach customers and people who are trying to make urgent calls should be able to count on reliable phone service. I’ll keep working to strengthen rural communications and make sure all Americans can stay connected regardless of where they live.”
“For most Americans, grabbing the phone, dialing a number, and waiting for someone to pick up on the other end is a task as routine as they come,” Thune said. “But believe it or not, for a lot of folks who live in rural states like South Dakota, call completion and reliability can still be a challenge today. I’m committed to finding solutions that improve rural telecommunications services, which is why I’m a strong supporter of the bill we’ve just reintroduced. I want to thank Senator Klobuchar for her leadership on this issue and look forward to once again considering this legislation in the Commerce Committee.”
“It’s been almost 150 years since the telephone was invented,” Tester said. “Since then we’ve developed broadcast television, sent folks to the moon, and invented the Internet. How is possible then, that in this day and age, folks in rural Montana can’t get reliable landline service? This bipartisan bill holds out-of-state service providers accountable to families and small businesses across America.”
“Our rural communities in Iowa and across America rely on consistent and reliable phone service to run their businesses, to respond to emergencies, to keep in touch with their friends and family, and to simply live their lives,” Young said. “I’m pleased to work with my colleagues in both the House and Senate on this important bipartisan legislation, to ensure quality phone service access is not a challenge for folks based on where they choose to live.”
“Whether an emergency call or a business order, Vermonters should have confidence that their calls are completed without disruption,” Welch said. “This bill helps address the epidemic of dropped calls in rural America and will ensure calls to emergency responders, businesses, customers, family and friends are reliably connected.”
The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act would direct the FCC to require intermediate providers that transmit voice calls to register with the agency and establish quality standards for transmitting voice calls. These reforms would ensure small businesses, families, and emergency responders in rural America can once again rely upon their telephone calls being completed. The legislation is supported by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, and WTA-Advocates for Rural Broadband. In 2016, the legislation passed the House and Senate Commerce Committee.