We’ve been following the rural call completion problem issue since mid- March 2011. Rural ILECs have brought the issue of rural consumers and businesses not receiving incoming calls to the attention of the FCC, demanding that it be addressed and soon. Support on this issue is growing with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) now chiming in.

In prep for its upcoming summer committee meetings, NARUC has proposed a resolution calling on the FCC to “…reaffirm its decision in its Call Blocking Declaratory Order, ‘that no carriers, including interexchange carriers, may block, choke, reduce or restrict traffic in any way.’” Furthermore, NARUC says the “…FCC and State commissions take all appropriate actions to protect consumers by immediately addressing the call terminating issues that exist.”

The issue has been led at the FCC by several rural telecom associations including, the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO), the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) and the Western Telecommunications Alliance (WTA).

Their latest filings on the issue revealed interesting data, including concerns that VoIP provider magicJack may be a rural call completion problem culprit. While no motive for this problem has been independently confirmed, logic suggests certain carriers are looking to avoid paying access and other interconnection charges to rural ILECs by not completing these calls. The aforementioned rural telecom associations have documented lost business for rural based businesses as a result of this issue.


Image courtesy of flickr user cogdogblog.

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13 thoughts on “Rural Call Completion Problem Gains More Attention

    1. Don't disagree in principle, but the problem is that the access charge system is no longer sustainable. When a rural carrier charges 8 to 12 cents/minute for "access," that is uneconomic and distortive. The state regulators should focus on the cause of the problem rather than the symptom.

      1. when they use someone else's network they know what the costs are and they should pay those costs or not use the network. it is as simple as that. Whatever the rates are they are filed, approved by regulatory bodies and are public information. they can then build those costs into their rates and recover from their users, just like everyone else – instead of stealing and cheating to get a free ride.

      2. You do realize the cost of these networks are exteremely high due to their rural nayure, don't you? And the IXC's know what the costs are.

      3. The problem is a company, like magic jack, built a business plan selling a product that has costs (some costs are high and some are low) to the consumer for free (virtually free).

  1. I don't care whether anyone goes to jail, I just want the problem fixed and prevented from happening again. Our customers deserve better.

  2. What would the ALMIGHTY FCC do if I started dropping calls in the floor. I am a small rural family owned business..


  3. The problem is that they do not tell their subs they cannot reach such areas. They tell them UNLIMITED nationwide calling… If they stated Unlimited calling to this area and not that area they would not get alot of business.

    If they know they are not going to terminate to area X then they should have to disclose that information to their customers.

    The problem is they dont want to pay termination, so they done terminate…. But the bigger problem is that their customer base has no idea why the call is failing and thinks its a problem on the far end… So once they do get in touch with said person they tell them THEY must have a problem recieving calls… Which leads to a call to my CSR's and then they have to explain the entire problem to get a anwser back from our SUBs telling us "Well you better get it fixed or I will cancel my service"!!

  4. The heart of this issue is that these rural companies are hurting their subscribers by not allowing phone calls from family located in other parts of the country from recieving their phone calls. My wife's mother is in poor health and her brother is inside a rural carrier's ILEC that blocks our MJ calls. This is the kind of outdated thinking that should have gone out with the breakup of Ma Bell.

    If the rural phone company cannot handle the need to provide service to their subscribers, they should start to think about selling out their business to a larger, viable communications company.

    1. Paul based on your comments you were more than likely directed to this website by your service provider as an educational tool for their customers. We have thought of doing the same, now I understand why we don't want to do that.

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