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Associations meet with FCC on call completion issue

03.14.11 - NECA recently participated in a meeting with FCC staff to call attention to problems related to the transmission and completion of calls placed to customers served by rural local exchange carriers (RLECs). NTCA led a group that also included OPASTCO and WTA representatives in describing how this problem has become a nationwide and industry-wide epidemic that directly and adversely affects consumers.

Concerns include calls that ring for the calling party, but not at all or on a delayed basis for the called customer of the rural LEC. Calling parties have also reported receiving incorrect or misleading message interceptions before the call ever reaches the rural LEC or the tandem it subtends, as well as calls that appear to “loop” between routing providers, but never reach the rural LEC or the tandem it subtends.

The rural representatives explained how difficult it is to identify such problems when they occur because they start with the calling party and the called party might not be aware of missing calls. It is difficult to locate and resolve the source of the issue even once identified, because there are a variety of platforms on which the troubles arise and a number of logistical and operational barriers to troubleshooting problems on other carriers’ networks.

The group indicated its fact-finding supports the conclusion that the problems appear to arise from how originating carriers choose to set up the signaling and routing of their calls. They gave several examples of how this epidemic threatens public safety and homeland security, and explained how it degrades the integrity and reliability of the nation’s telecommunications network.

See the ex parte filing for details and statistics on this growing problem.