The telephone network in the United States has worked so reliably for so many years that today most of us take for granted that the phones in our home or business will be there when we need them – without dropped calls, poor signal or other problems.
A growing number of telephone consumers in rural areas across Montana and many other states are experiencing problems with long distance phone calls not being completed or suffering from a range of call quality issues. Sometime the phone on the receiving end rings but the caller’s voice cannot be heard once the phone is answered. Sometimes the voice quality is so poor the call is not productive. There are also reported problems with receiving faxed documents and difficulties with debit and credit transactions at the point of sale. The problem occurs on calls originated using a variety of telephone technologies including landline, wireless and internet voice services.
These problems are very frustrating for consumers who may not receive calls from family and friends and costly for businesses missing calls from customers or suppliers. Naturally telephone subscribers turn to their local telephone company for a resolution. These particular calling problems, however; originate outside of the Mid-Rivers local telephone network, and therefore cannot be “fixed” by Mid-Rivers. The problem calls, which move from one company’s network to a second and often a third and fourth network, often do not even reach the Mid-Rivers Communications network.
Mid-Rivers covered these concerns with the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) at a recent event in Helena and the Montana PSC took action, urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate the rural call completion problems.
Several national telephone associations also gathered information on the scope of these issues and concluded that this is an epidemic effecting the routing of calls to customers in rural areas nationwide. These national associations contacted the FCC Enforcement Bureau and asked for an investigation to identify the cause of the long distance call completion problems. The FCC Enforcement Bureau is currently meeting with several of the national long distance carriers to gather information. It is our hope that these problems will be identified and corrected in the near future.
If someone attempting to call you experiences call completion problems, it is helpful to gather as many details as possible including:
• The time the call was placed.
• The phone number from which the call originated.
• The name of the caller’s long distance or wireless provider.
• Details about what, if anything, occurred on the receiving end of the call.
Mid-Rivers Communications customers experiencing these problems can report them to Mid-Rivers by calling 1-800-452-2288.