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U.S. House Passes Welch, Young Rural Call Quality Legislation

November 14, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act (H.R. 2566), legislation introduced by Iowa Congressman David Young and Vermont Congressman Peter Welch to address call quality and reliability standards in rural areas.

“Whether an emergency call or a business order, Vermonters should have confidence that their calls are completed without disruption,” Congressman Welch said. “This bill addresses the epidemic of dropped calls in rural America and will ensure calls to emergency responders, businesses, customers, family and friends are reliably connected.”

“Americans deserve consistent, quality phone service no matter where they choose to live,” Congressman Young said. “I appreciate the support this important legislation has received from members on both sides of the aisle, especially Congressman Welch, as we continue to move it forward and improve phone service for folks in Iowa communities and across rural America.”

The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act requires intermediary providers to register with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and to meet quality standards ensuring rural Americans can rely on phone service. It also prohibits providers from using any intermediary routing services not registered with the FCC.

It was examined by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, during a hearing entitled “Rural Call Quality and Reliability on September 8, 2016. The legislation was subsequently marked up by the subcommittee on September 13, 2016, before it was sent to the full committee for consideration. It was considered and passed by the full U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on September 21, 2016. The legislation was originally passed by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Communications Act Update Act of 2016 (S. 253) on September 27, 2016, but was approved today as a standalone bill.

The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act legislation heads to the U.S. Senate for final consideration.