Representatives from Chariton Valley Telephone Corporation are working with federal regulators to address a problem of long-distance telephone calls not completing to customers in the Chariton Valley service area or resulting in "dead air."
Many telephone customers in rural communities all over the country have reported not receiving calls they should and experiencing poor quality when it came to calls they did get. Frustrated consumers often blame their local telephone companies, but rural telecommunications companies are not at fault.
In a positive step for rural Americans and the telephone companies that serve them, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced that a national long-distance provider will pay a voluntary fine of almost $1 million as part of an investigation into the company's efforts to route and complete calls to rural communities. Chariton Valley's representatives believe the fine sends an important message to other long-distance providers about the fundamental duties expected of telecommunications providers. But policymakers need to do more to put an end to the epidemic of call failures once and for all.
"The FCC's recent announcement shows that regulators in Washington recognize the public safety concerns associated with calls continually failing to go through," said Jim Simon, Chariton Valley's general manager. "It also shows that local telecommunications providers like Chariton Valley are not to blame and that this problem is part of a much larger issue associated with our country's telecommunications networks. That's why we continue to work with the FCC and members of Congress to find a solution."
It is believed that most rural call completion problems stem from a practice called least-cost routing (LCR), in which long-distance carriers send calls destined for rural consumers to intermediate providers to reduce expenses. In many cases, they are not properly routing the call to its destination and, as a result, some calls have poor quality and many calls are not connecting at all. This means rural consumers may be missing important phone calls, and they may not even know it.
Local telecommunications providers and their national trade associations have been leading efforts to find a solution to the call completion problem for more than two years. For more information, visit www.ntca.org.