Tester Sends 13th Bill to President Trump’s Desk

Senator’s Improving Rural Call Completion Act Will Help #ConnectMT

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan bill to improve rural call completion has passed the House and is now headed to the President’s desk for signature. This is the thirteenth bill Tester has sent to President Trump this Congress.

“Many folks in rural Montana still can’t always rely on something as basic as a landline to complete their calls, and that’s totally unacceptable,” Tester said. “This bill will hold out-of-state phone service providers accountable and improve service for families and small businesses across rural Montana. I’m proud that it’s heading to the President’s desk to become law.”

The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish basic quality standards for intermediaries who transmit phone calls across the country. A 2012 study found that-despite improved 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.

Tester is a long-time advocate for rural call completion, having first introduced this bill back in 2015 and pushing the FCC to address this issue long before that. He cosponsored similar legislation in the 113th Congress and supported a 2013 bipartisan resolution urging the FCC to improve America’s communication system to better keep rural America connected.

Tester was also recently appointed to the Senate Commerce Committee, where he is a member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, which has jurisdiction over issues of connectivity and call completion. This legislation is part of Tester’s larger #ConnectMT initiative, which seeks to connect folks across Big Sky Country-both online and in person-by investing in Montana’s roads, bridges, broadband, wifi, cellular and landline infrastructures.

Since being sworn into office, President Trump has signed 12 of Tester’s bills into law. This will be the thirteenth. The others are as follows: