Las Vegas, New Mexico (NAPSI) - A problem of bells not ringing has been taking its toll on many Americans but the nation’s rural telephone cooperatives are seeking a solution.

The Problem

Many rural telephone customers have reported not receiving calls they should and experiencing poor quality when it came to the calls they did get. Frustrated consumers often blame their local telephone companies, but rural telecommunications companies are not at fault.

It is believed that most rural call completion problems stem from a practice called least-cost routing (LCR), in which long-distance carriers send calls destined for rural consumers to LCR providers to reduce expenses. In many cases, they are not properly routing the call to its destination and, as a result, some calls have poor call quality and many calls are not connecting at all. This means rural consumers may be missing important phone calls, and they may not even know it.

Seeking a Solution

The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and its rural allies are leading efforts to find a solution to the problem. The group, which helped run the test, recently presented its findings to a task force set up by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which can impose penalties of up to $150,000 on carriers that fail to correct the problem.

The rural group’s study found that call failure rates were 13 times higher in rural areas compared to those in nonrural areas. The occurrence of poor voice quality was also significantly higher in rural areas.

“The results of this project clearly show that much more needs to be done to resolve rural call completion issues,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “Consumers in rural communities need to know that their local phone companies are not to blame and that rural carriers are leading efforts to find a permanent solution to this epidemic. We recognize that rural Americans deserve reliable telephone service for their personal safety and financial well-being just as much as urban consumers deserve it, and we’ll continue to speak out on their behalf until this problem is solved.”

The NTCA is the premier association representing independent telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-townAmerica.

Learn More

For more information, go to and (703) 351-2000 or and (888) 225-5322.