From the FCC: What is the cause of these problems?

In a nutshell, the problem appears to be occurring in rural areas where long distance or wireless carriers normally pay higher-than-average charges to the local telephone company to complete calls. That is, in order for a long distance or wireless carrier to complete one of its subscriber’s calls to a resident of a rural area, the carrier must get the call to the exchange serving that resident (the local phone company), and then pay a charge to that local carrier to access its exchange. The physical process of getting the call to the exchange is called “routing,” and the charge paid by the long distance company to the local carrier is called an “access charge.” These charges are part of the decades-old system of “access charges” that help pay for the cost of rural networks. To minimize these charges, some long-distance and wireless carriers contract with third-party “least-cost routing” service providers to connect calls to their destination at the lowest cost possible. Although many of these contracts include strictly-defined performance parameters, it appears that all too frequently those performance levels are not being met or, indeed, some calls are not even connecting at all.

Call Completion Legislation Passes Both Chambers of Congress

On February 9, 2018, the House of Representatives passed S. 96, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act, legislation designed to address the long-standing call completion problems in rural America. This bill requires the FCC to establish call completion standards for intermediary providers, who at times, do not route calls properly to rural areas. It also forbids originating carriers from using intermediary providers that the FCC has designated as not meeting the agency’s standards.

What Can You Do?

AP&T Local Voice subscribers should urge the long distance or wireless callers having Call Completion issues to provide the details of the problem to their service provider.  Typically the trouble support contact details are available on the service providers website or even on the monthly bill.  The service provider of the caller having the completion issue should track down and remedy the issue for their customer.

If the call completion problems persist, please consider making a complaint to the FCC directly.

For problematic calls originating in Canada, please connect with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Of course, the AP&T team can steer you in the right direction as well if you feel that a long distance or wireless caller is having trouble reaching you, please be capable of providing us with the calling and called telephone numbers in conjunction with the date and time that the call(s) were attempted.  Please feel free to contact us directly at any of our local offices or via the Feedback Form on this website.