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Bipartisan Legislation to Modernize Rural Call Completion Unanimously Approved by Subcommittee

Important legislation now moves to full committee for consideration

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Washington, September 13, 2016 | Tom Wilbur/Lynn Turner (202 225 3761/269-385-0039) | comments

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on Tuesday advanced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2566, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015, by a unanimous vote. This important legislation, championed by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, will address persistent problems folks have in Southwest Michigan and across the country with rural call completion issues. These calls completion issues have a negative impact on local small businesses and can pose a threat to public safety when important messages go undelivered.

“It’s never been easier to pick up the phone and dial a number to be in touch with friends and loved ones, no matter where they are in the country. But for those living in rural areas right here in Southwest Michigan and across the country, this connection isn’t always guaranteed,” said Upton. “It’s time we set higher standards for the integrity of our networks, but more importantly for the benefit of folks who need it here at home. I have heard directly from providers in my district as well as local small businesses that this is an issue of great importance and demands action. This bipartisan legislation takes meaningful action to address this problem and I’m proud to support it.”

Sid Shank, Government Policy Coordinator at Acentek, a communications and information technology firm serving primarily rural areas in the Midwest, commented, “I applaud Congressman Upton and his colleagues for tackling this tough issue. Despite amazing advances in technology in recent years, there are still many folks living in rural areas that experience problems with call quality. We know we can do better and today Congress took the first steps to achieving that goal.”

H.R. 2566 requires intermediate telecommunications providers to register with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and comply with the service quality standards set by the agency. It would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to ensure the integrity of voice communications and to prevent unjust or unreasonable discrimination among areas of the United States in the delivery of such communications.

The legislation now moves towards consideration of the full committee. 

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