Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for action to improve rural communications. The resolution underscores the need to resolve rural call completion problems and crack down on carriers that discriminate against rural customers.
“Call completion problems aren’t just a nuisance for families trying to stay connected; they hurt small businesses that need reliable phone service to stay competitive and they are a public safety issue that can endanger citizens trying to make urgent calls,” said Klobuchar. “I’ve pushed hard to strengthen rural communications and I will continue to work to make sure communities can stay connected, hospitals have the resources they need to provide patients with the care they need, and local businesses can compete in the global economy.”
“I have heard from many South Dakota businesses and school districts that have experienced call completion problems,”said Johnson. “Call completion problems create serious economic and public safety concerns for rural communities in South Dakota and across our country. I will continue to do all I can to make sure these problems are fully resolved.”
"I'm pleased that there is such strong, bipartisan support in the Senate for overcoming the significant communications challenges facing communities across the United States,” Fischer said. “Small businesses throughout Nebraska simply cannot thrive without a 21st century communications infrastructure. While overcoming this technology gap is a matter of survival for many rural communities, it is also a challenge for urban areas facing aging and outdated infrastructure. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find ways to improve access to adequate phone and Internet service for all Nebraskans."
Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and has been a leader in pushing to expand and improve communications infrastructure in rural areas. After Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of 35 senators urged FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to take swift action to restore quality service in rural areas suffering from call completion problems, last year the FCC issued notice of new proposed rules to require carriers to collect and retain data allowing the FCC to determine if providers discriminate against rural customers. Earlier this year, the FCC reached a settlement with phone carrier Level 3 Communications that will require the company to meet vigorous, verifiable call completion standards, provide extensive records to assist FCC enforcement, as well as make a $975,000 voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury.