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NECA releases call completion survey results

09.07.16 - For more than six years, calls to consumers and businesses located in rural areas of the United States have been dropped or blocked before reaching the networks of rural rate-of-return local exchange carriers. Call completion problems threaten the availability of reliable telephone service to consumers, businesses, and public health and safety officials in rural America. According to a recent survey conducted by NECA, RLECs continue to receive consumer complaints.

Results show complaints continue

The June 2016 survey yielded 242 responses from rural rate-of-return incumbent local exchange carriers operating in 42 states. Of RLEC respondents:

  • 86 percent have received complaints at some time in the past.
  • 70 percent received complaints in the 12-month period from June 2015 through May 2016.
  • 56 percent received complaints in the three-month period from March 2016 through May 2016.

Among the 242 respondents, 46 percent have an affiliated competitive local exchange carrier operation. Of those CLECs:

  • 63 percent received consumer complaints in the 12-month period from June 2015 through May 2016.
  • Of those CLECs who have received complaints in the past 12 months, 65 percent received about the same or a greater number of complaints when compared to their ILEC operation.

FCC addresses issue with enforcement action, reporting requirements

In recent years the FCC has taken positive steps to address the issue, including enforcement action against a handful of originating carriers and requiring larger carriers to provide the Commission with call performance data. While these actions are welcome and applauded, rural consumers continue to experience these problems. NECA is encouraged by the efforts taken thus far and will continue to monitor the issue.