Last year we began to raise awareness about an issue called “terminating toll.” Unfortunately, the issue has only gotten worse since then and is now affecting more and more rural residents who use either landline phones or cellphones.
Across the country, residents of rural communities are unable to receive long distance phone calls or are receiving calls of poor quality due to incomplete or blocked long distance calls carried on long distance networks. The issue affects landline, toll-free and wireless long distance calls.
In the U.S., phone calls are carried on a network of phone lines that may be owned by a wide range of companies who charge a fee to carry long distance calls. To cut costs, some large long distance companies attempt to use the lowest cost route available even if that route includes providers who aren’t capable of providing good call quality or even completing the call.
Dropped calls or calls with almost no sound quality are occurring across the nation and additional problems that customers have experienced include the following:
- The caller hears ringing but the receiving party hears nothing.
- The caller’s phone rings but hears only “dead air” when the call is answered.
- The call takes an unusually long time to place.
- Garbled, one-way, or otherwise poor call quality on completed calls.
- Callers receive odd or irrelevant recorded messages.
These calls can have a devastating effect on businesses that depend on long distance capabilities to make sales and complete other transactions.
There are steps that consumers can take to help address the problem. Those who are unable to place a phone call to a rural telephone customer should contact their long distance carrier. The long distance carrier can trace how the call was routed and find a route that works for the future. Residents who cannot receive calls should encourage the calls originator to ask their phone company to trace the call and fix the routing issue.
In the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing more with you about what is being done on a national, statewide and local level to help combat this situation. If you have any further questions let us know in the comments section below or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.