FCC Adopts New Rural Call Completion Rules and Seeks Comment on Additional Proposed Rules

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The FCC has adopted and proposed new rules to address rural call completion problems. Such problems include failed calls, poor-quality long-distance calls, and the transmission of false ring tones. The FCC has stated that call completion problems have serious economic costs and potentially threaten public safety in local communities. As a significant source of the problem stems from calls being handed off multiple times to intermediate providers before reaching their final destination, and to promote better oversight in the routing of calls, the FCC will now require providers selecting the initial long-distance route to monitor the performance of intermediate providers, take remedial action to correct performance problems, and establish a point of contact to address rural call completion issues. The FCC also eliminates the current quarterly data reporting requirements in Rule Section 64.2105 finding the information neither useful nor a deterrent with respect to call completion failures; however, it retains the recording and retention rules. The FCC seeks comment on proposed rules to implement the recently enacted Improving Call Quality and Reliability Act, which directs the FCC to establish intermediate provider registration requirements, bar providers from using non-registered intermediate providers, and develop service quality standards for intermediate providers. Comments on the FCC’s proposed rules are due June 4, 2018, and reply comments are due June 19, 2018.

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