On March 23, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation that would amend the Communications Act to ensure the integrity of voice communications nationwide. The bill, called “Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015,” would also prevent unjust or unreasonable discrimination in the delivery of voice communications. Public Knowledge supports this bill as an important step forward for rural areas where calls too often suffer from poor quality or fail to connect at all.
The following can be attributed to Jodie Griffin, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“This bill addresses a significant problem for rural communities. Many rural communities experience poor call quality due to deals made between phone companies and intermediaries that transmit calls across the network. Without any quality standards in place to ensure that calls made to or from rural areas function reliably, many residents find themselves unable to connect with their loved ones under these third-party arrangements.
“The rural call completion problem is an example of how unanticipated problems can arise in the course of technology transitions, and Congress and the FCC must be ready to ensure the transitions are a true step forward for everyone. When the transition to Internet Protocol started to exacerbate rural call completion problems, the FCC stepped in and used its authority to investigate this issue, enforce standards, and create better tailored rules. Now Congress is rightly considering updating the Communications Act to ensure that calls complete for all Americans.
“It’s vital that our communications networks continue to function as we transition to new technologies, and a resolution that abandons rural communities just isn’t acceptable for anyone. Technology transitions must and can be a step forward for us all.”
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