Tester introduces legislation to improve phone service for rural families and small businesses

Senator’s bill directs the FCC to establish basic quality standards to prevent delays and incomplete phone calls

(U.S. SENATE)-Senator Jon Tester introduced legislation to improve communication for rural families and small businesses.

Tester’s bill, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act, addresses persistent phone call completion issues plaguing Montana’s rural communities by directing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish basic quality standards for providers who transmit phone calls to all areas of the United States. A 2012 study found that nearly one in five calls placed to rural areas was delayed, poor quality, or incomplete.

Tester has heard from Montanans who say that persistent phone call completion problems in rural Montana are creating major inconveniences for families, negatively impacting small businesses, and putting public safety at risk.

“Folks in rural America rely on consistent and reliable phone service to run their businesses and stay in touch with their families,” Tester said. “This bill is an important step toward ensuring that rural Americans are able to connect with folks regardless of where they live.”

Tester cosponsored similar legislation last Congress and also supported a 2013 bipartisan resolution urging the FCC to improve America’s communication system to better keep rural America connected.

Tester introduced the Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).