Trying to aggressively deal with the rural call completion plague has been a top priority for NTCA so there was some energy in our halls today as the FCC took some positive steps to implement the NTCA-Backed Rural Call Completion Law.
In a positive development for rural consumers and businesses awaiting relief for rural call completion and quality problems, the FCC today released an order implementing the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017 signed into law earlier this year. The law seeks to promote greater visibility into the call completion problems that threaten public safety, businesses and the general well-being of countless rural Americans by requiring registration and adherence to certain quality standards by “intermediate providers” that are often used to route calls.
NTCA advocated actively with respect both to the law and its implementation, and the association is pleased that today’s order takes several important steps, including:
- The order establishes a registry that will for the first time bring intermediate telecommunications providers “into the light” so they can be more easily monitored and held accountable for call completion.
- The order adopts a broad definition of intermediate provider, minimizing the possibility that a party will structure its operations to avoid the new obligations.
- The order directs originating providers to ensure registered intermediate providers are used at all steps of a call’s path, meaning compliance obligations do not stop at the first intermediate provider.
- The order upholds continuing implementation of the new requirement that originating providers monitor intermediate providers, denying a temporary stay request that NTCA opposed.
A shout out indeed to the FCC for adopting the order and certainly to Congressman David Young from Iowa and Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota for their leadership role in Congress. NTCA is fully committed to continue working with the commission, NTCA members and all stakeholders as these rules are implemented toward the goal of ensuring that every American can have confidence in the quality and reliability of the communications networks that serve them.
Too many stories of frustration, angst, medical emergencies, lost business and public safety cases for this epidemic to go unchecked.