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Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will adopt new measures to ensure that calls are completed in rural America. The FNPRM will also seek comment on additional ways to help all Americans complete their phone calls. Public Knowledge supports the quick action by the FCC but cautions against removing reporting requirements until the Commission knows the rural call completion problem is solved.
The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President at Public Knowledge:
“It’s imperative that our telecommunications networks continue to function properly as we upgrade our technologies. With this Rural Call Completion item, the FCC has an opportunity to act on the power that Congress has given it to solve this problem once and for all. Now we need to make sure the FCC completes the job.
“The Second Report and Order’s monitoring rule opts to offer long distance providers the power to set their own performance targets and benchmarks without any obligations to report call completion problems back to the Commission. The third FNPRM further proposes to eliminate the recordkeeping and retention rules, which would eliminate a public record that can be valuable for future rulemakings, reports, and enforcement actions.
“We applaud the FCC for moving quickly to implement the mandate set by Congress in the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act. Industry best practices combined with improved intercarrier compensation practices could be enough to end the quality divide we’ve seen in rural areas due to rural call completion issues, but we won’t know if we don’t track the results. Consumers should be concerned with how open the FCC is to closing the door on reporting requirements until we know that the job is done.”