Rural customers in at least 35 states, including South Dakota, have reported difficulties receiving long distance calls since 2010. We understand that these issues are not only inconvenient, but can also impact the physical and financial well-being of our customers.
According to industry analysts, there could be a number of possible reasons why customers in rural areas nation-wide are experiencing problems with incoming long distance calls. One likely cause is the use of least-cost routers (LCR) by the long distance carriers originating these calls, which may frequently prevent calls from connecting to rural areas. Another cause may be voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) services like Vonage, Skype, and Magic Jack who, in some cases, actually advertise that they do not terminate calls in all areas.
Golden West, and other companies that serve rural America, continue to work with state and federal officials, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to force a solution that halts this practice of discriminating against rural customers. While progress has been slow, the advocacy efforts of the rural telecommunications industry have inspired positive action.
In October 2013 the FCC adopted rules aimed at resolving call completion problems to rural areas. Today, long distance carriers are required to collect data on long distance calls to rural areas and to report their performance regarding the completion of those calls. A Rural Call Completion Workshop between the FCC and the rural telecommunications industry was also in held in 2015, which looked at additional ways to prevent, identify and resolve rural call completion issues.
Golden West will continue to work diligently to ensure that our customers receive the service they deserve. Thank you for your understanding and please know that we value you as a customer.
Additional information on Call Termination:
Johnson Letter to FCC Chairman Wheeler