Dropped calls are being experienced by rural communities in at least 35 states. According to industry analysts, there could be a number of possible reasons why customers in rural areas are experiencing problems with incoming long distance calls.
One potential cause is the use of least-cost routers (LCR) by the carriers originating these calls in an effort to reduce their expenses associated with using the rural telecommunications provider’s network.
While utilizing a LCR may help the originating carriers bottom-line, this method of routing oftentimes prevents calls from connecting in rural areas.
Another cause may be voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) services like Vonage, Skype and Magic Jack who, in some cases, actually advertise that they do not terminate calls in all areas.
Madison, and other companies that serve rural America, are working with state and federal officials, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to develop a solution that halts this practice of discriminating against rural customers. On September 26, 2011, the FCC announced that it is forming a task force to look into and correct the issue.
A workshop addressing this issue, held October 18, is view-able online at:
There are many rural telephone subscribers nationwide who have have been experiencing call termination issues. These issues include, but are not limited to:
- The calling party hears ringing but the called party hears nothing
- The calling party hears ringing but only hears dead air when the called party answers information on the scope of these issues and concluded this is an epidemic affecting the routing of calls to customers in rural areas nationwide
- Unusually long call set-up times, sometimes as long as 50 seconds
- One way or otherwise poor quality, garbled voice on completed calls
- Inability 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.
- Madison has no control over these issues – the problems occur before the call ever reaches our network, if the call reaches our network at all.
- The national telephone associations are collecting data to provide to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for further investigation into this problem.