Shana Macey, Crown Point Telephone president, and Tony Macey, Crown Point Telephone vice president of operations, are frustrated by “failure to complete” issues experienced by some customers. The problem lies with long distance service providers, not Crown Point Telephone.
Crown Point Telephone officials are hopeful settlement of a Federal Communications Commission complaint will help solve a local problem.
For more than a year phone patrons have reported problems receiving long distance calls — but the issue isn’t a local one, according to Shana Macey, president of Crown Point Telephone.
“When people can’t call into Crown Point via a long distance provider, it’s not Crown Point Telephone that’s failing to complete the call,” Macey said. “That call is being dropped before it ever gets to us.”
Rural telephone consumers across the nation have reported problems receiving long distance or wireless calls on their landline telephones, Macey said. The issue is known as “failure to complete.” Problems include incoming long distance calls not connecting or, if they do connect, poor voice quality.
Last month, as part of an FCC investigation, Level 3 Communications agreed to a voluntary contribution of $1 million to the U.S. Treasury and to cease using poorly-performing intermediate providers.
Level 3 Communications, headquartered in Broomfield, Colo., is the largest long distance provider in the nation.
“The relief our customers may see will depend on how many calls coming into Crown Point are being made by individuals who have Level 3 as their long distance provider,” Macey said.
Level 3 is not the primary long distance provider in Crown Point, but Macey hopes the FCC agreement will help local customers by setting a precedent for action against other long distance carriers and lead to industry improvements.
“Level 3 has not been the largest carrier of issue for our Crown Point Telephone customers, so we expect the issue to continue until further actions are taken by the FCC,” Macey said.
She also hopes the action will reassure Crown Point residents that their long distance problems do not stem from Crown Point Telephone.
“We hope it furthers the message that the rural carriers are not the problem in this situation,” Macey said.
“Failure to complete” symptoms include:
— long distance or wireless callers repeatedly hear nothing for 10 seconds or more after they dial a number. If they stay on the line, the call may seem to be dropped or they may eventually hear a busy signal;
— long distance or wireless callers repeatedly hear prolonged ringing on their end after they dial a number;
— long distance or wireless callers repeatedly hear prolonged ringing, but the phone actually rings only a couple of times before being answered;
— long distance or wireless callers repeatedly hear a recording such as “The number you have dialed is not in service” or “Your call cannot be completed as dialed” despite having correctly dialed a number; or
— poor call quality.
“There are solutions, but people need to report the problems they’re experiencing,” Macey said. “Unfortunately, Crown Point Telephone can’t help. People making the calls need to complain to the Federal Communications Commission.”
For the FCC to take action on a complaint, a phone customer must provide the caller’s number, the called number and the date the attempted calls or problem calls were made. If possible, people should also identify the telephone service provider that serves the caller and provide the time of the calls. Complaints can be filed online at http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/rcc/RCC_Form2000B.html
“When calls to Americans in rural communities aren’t reliably completed, the consequences are both life-threatening and damaging economically,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, announcing the deal with Level 3. “As today’s action shows, resolving this complex problem is a major priority for the FCC. We will follow the facts and data, and we will hold responsible parties accountable.”
FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison said her agency will continue to work on the “failure to complete” issue.
“Basic long distance phone calls are failing in many areas of rural America at alarming rates,” she said. “This is unacceptable. Rural residents and businesses should be able to receive a work-related or emergency call with the same reliability and call quality as others do.
“Through this settlement, Level 3 has committed to tackle this issue head-on, agreeing to adopt tough, new call completion benchmarks, to back these standards with significant noncompliance penalties, and to disclose critical data that will assist the bureau in other ongoing investigations,” Ellison added. “We are aggressively pursuing this problem wherever it leads, and there will be significant consequences for those companies that are not fulfilling their obligations to rural America.”