Oklahoma Officials Request FCC ‘Call-Termination’ Investigation

Published November 8, 2011

In response to complaints in Oklahoma and other states from both telephone customers and service providers regarding problems with completion of telephone calls, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has requested the Federal Communications Commission address the so-called “call termination” problems. 

The OCC joined public officials in other states in a letter to the FCC supporting a July National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ resolution to investigate the matter and pursue a solution.

“The OCC has received complaints from Oklahoma telecommunications carriers and end-users who have experienced difficulties and are attempting to correct the problem to no avail,” the OCC officials wrote. The letter sent to the FCC in September was signed by Chairwoman Dana Murphy, Vice Chairman Jeff Cloud, and Commissioner Bob Anthony.

Rural Areas Most Affected
Call termination is allegedly affecting long distance calls made from wirelines, cellular phones, and Internet-based telephone services alike, according to the OCC.

The statement identifies call termination as a caller hearing a ring tone after dialing a number but the called phone does not ring and the call is not completed, or when the called phone rings but the party called hears nothing when the call is answered.

The majority of call-termination complaints involve calls placed to customers in rural areas, according to the OCC letter. Rural telecommunication associations across the nation reported to the FCC that call-completion problems were up more than 2,000 percent from March 2010 to April 2011.

The statement says the rural telephone companies’ equipment and practices do not appear to be to blame for the call terminations.

Conducting Own Inquiry
The Tulsa World reported a resort owner in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, experienced a 50-percent drop in calls from vacation customers during his busy summer season. A similar story was reported in Lincoln County when a trucking company executive said he was no longer receiving calls from customers.

The OCC is conducting its own inquiry into the problem.

“The OCC urges the FCC to take steps to resolve this nationwide problem,” the Commissioners wrote. “The OCC is committed to assisting in this endeavor and, therefore, has begun holding public meetings to which the telecommunications industry and all interested persons are invited to participate.”

The OCC’s first meeting was held September 7. The commission has not received a reply from the FCC.

Alyssa Carducci ([email protected]) writes from Tampa, Florida.

Internet Info

“Problems With Rural Phone Calls Prompt FCC Probe Request,” D. R. Stewart, Tulsa World, September 21, 2011: http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/article.aspx?subjectid=52&articleid=20110921_52_E1_Inthem401819

“Support for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Resolution on Call Termination,” Dana Murphy, Jeff Cloud, and Bob Anthony, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, September 13, 2011: http://news.heartland.org/sites/default/files/09-20-11FCC-Call%20Termination_0.pdf