U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which exercises jurisdiction over legislation related to telecommunications and technology policy, and fellow Commerce Committee members Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) issued the following statements after their bipartisan legislation to improve rural call completion passed the U.S. House of Representatives and now heads to the president’s desk for his signature.
“Folks who live and work in rural communities throughout South Dakota don’t always enjoy the luxury of something as simple as phone call completion, a task most people in more urban areas might take for granted,” said Thune. “While significant improvements have been made over the years, too many rural business owners and customers are still facing challenges when they pick up a phone, dial a number, and hope to hear a voice on the other end of the line. This bipartisan legislation will make additional progress in improving rural telecommunications service, and I want to thank Sen. Klobuchar for her leadership on this important issue.”
“Rural communities across Minnesota have been suffering from unreliable phone service for years. Setting these commonsense standards for providers will help ensure that people can stay connected, run their businesses, and reach the emergency services they need,” said Klobuchar. “This law is a critical step in ending chronic call completion problems and an investment in the safety and strength of rural America.”
“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,” said Tester. “This bill will hold out-of-state phone service providers accountable and it will 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.”Persistent phone call completion problems in rural communities are creating major inconveniences for families, hurting businesses, and threatening public safety. The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act, which was approved by the Commerce Committee last year, will direct the Federal Communications Commission to require providers that transmit voice calls to register with the agency and establish quality standards for transmitting voice calls. These reforms will help ensure small businesses, families, and emergency responders in rural America can once again rely upon their telephone calls being completed.