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U.S. Representatives Peter Welch and David Young Look to Connect Rural America

June 22, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) and Congressman David Young (R-IA) recently introduced legislation that would address the critical concern of call quality and completion in rural America, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act. In some rural areas, nearly one in five inbound calls to land line phones are not completed or are of poor quality. This is a great inconvenience to families, but can also be catastrophic to small businesses whose customers cannot reach them. This bill would establish call quality standards and take steps to ensure Americans in rural areas are receiving all their calls.

"Vermonters should have confidence that every call they make and every call they receive are completed without disruption," Congressman Welch said. "This bill addresses the epidemic of dropped calls in rural America and will ensure Vermonters' calls to emergency responders, businesses, customers, family and friends are reliably connected."
"In rural Iowa we need to be able to depend on quality phone service. This legislation is a commonsense step that should have already been taken by the federal government to make sure all Americans are connected. It would simply set enforceable standards on call quality and completion and hold providers accountable for meeting them," said Congressman Young.

The problem for rural residents begins with how calls to them are routed. Telephone companies often rely on intermediate providers to route calls from larger networks to local service providers, to poor results. First introduced in the U.S. Senate, this bill would for the first time hold these providers accountable. It would require them to register with the FCC and meet quality standards ensuring rural Americans can rely on their phone service. Additionally, the bill explicitly prohibits providers from using any intermediary routing service that is not registered with the FCC.  
Read the full legislation here.