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).