Many rural telephone subscribers have been experiencing a variety of call termination issues. These issues include, but are not limited to:
* The calling party hears ringing but the called party hears nothing
* The called party hears ringing but only hears dead air when the called party answers
* Unusually long call set-up times, sometimes as long as 50 seconds
* One way or otherwise poor quality, garbled voice on completed calls
* Inablility to receive faxes
* Missing or altered Caller ID
Scope and Industry Response
* Several national telephone associations have gathered information on the scope of these issues and concluded this is an epidemic affecting the routing of calls to customers in rural areas nationwide.
* The problem occurs on calls originated using a variety of telephone technologies including land-line, wireless, cable, and VoIP.
* The telephone company has no control over these issues – the problems occur before the call ever reaches their network, if the call reaches their network at all.
* The national telephone associations are collecting data to provide to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for further investigation into this problem.
Suggested Consumer Action
* Calling parties should open a trouble ticket with their own originating carrier or service provider when they determine they cannot reach the called party or they experience poor call quality.
* When reporting the problem to the originating carrier or provider, the calling party should include the following details:
* Date and time of call
* The number that was used to place the call
* The number that was called
* Description of the problem (i.e. dead air, ringing with no answer, etc.)
* Consumers attempting to place calls which do not connect or are experiencing call quality issues are encouraged to call the same number using a different service provider or use a “dial-around” option. This often demonstrates that the called number is actually in good working order.
* Consumers who do not receive reliable service or a satisfactory response from their originating carrier or service provider should consider filing a complaint with their state utility commission and/or the FCC. The FCC has created a web page to assist consumers with this process: Problems with long distance or wireless calling to rural areas. Consumers may also call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).