Tester to Congress: Ensure Rural Call Completion

(U.S. Senate) – As part of his ongoing effort to #ConnectMT, Senator Jon Tester has once again introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the reliability of phone service that helps families and small businesses throughout the state.

“It’s been almost 150 years since the telephone was invented,” Tester said. “Since then we’ve developed broadcast television, sent folks to the moon, and invented the Internet. How is it possible then, that in this day and age, folks in rural Montana can’t get reliable landline service? This bipartisan bill holds out-of-state service providers accountable to families and small businesses across Montana.”

Tester’s bill, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act, would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish basic quality standards for intermediaries who transmit phone calls across the U.S. Tester took up this issue after a 2012 study found that-despite improved cell phone and internet service throughout urban parts of the country-one out of every five calls made to rural areas via landline are still delayed, dropped, or disrupted.

Tester notes that this isn’t just an issue of inconvenience. If rural communities can’t rely on their landlines to consistently connect, families run the risk of not being able to reach 911 in an emergency, and businesses will lose their ability to provide service.

This legislation is part of Tester’s larger initiative to #ConnectMT by improving rural call completion, investing in rural Internet infrastructure, and strengthening local radio and TV stations.