Tester's Efforts Force FCC to Improve Rural Call Completion

FCC Establishes New Guidelines Based on Senator's Improving Rural Call Quality & Reliability Act

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – Thanks to U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s new law to #ConnectMT, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking a big step to increase call reliability and completion across rural America.

“If we can send a man to the moon, we should be able to connect a call in Big Sandy, Montana” Tester said. “That’s why I fought to pass the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act, so folks in rural America can always pick up the phone and hear a voice on the other end. These reforms will hold out-of-state phone service providers accountable and improve service for families and small businesses across Montana.”

Tester’s Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act, which was signed into law in February, directs the FCC to establish basic quality standards for providers that transmit voice calls to help ensure businesses, families, and emergency responders can count on phone calls being completed.

The FCC is now establishing a registry for intermediate service providers to increase accountability and rural call completion.

Tester took up this issue after a 2012 study found that one out of every five calls made to rural areas via landline are still delayed, dropped, or disrupted.

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.