Spring Grove Communications and national trade associations applaud the February FCC (Federal Communications Commission) ruling that will take steps to address the growing problem of rural phone calls failing to complete.

In the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), the FCC indicated its desire to obtain more robust and reliable data on a recurring basis from long-distance voice and VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) providers that could help isolate and address rural call completion problems.

The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), the Western Telecommunications Alliance (WTA) and the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) reported that the commission also expressed interest in preventing false or "phantom" ring-back signals that lead to the calling party hearing ringing before the call has been properly set up.

The recent NPRM follows two years of advocacy by the rural associations to put an end to the call completion epidemic.

Late last year, a bipartisan group of more than 30 senators led by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) joined the rural associations in calling on the FCC to seek a swift solution to the problem, which frustrates commerce and threatens the well-being of rural Americans.

NTCA chief executive officer Shirley Bloomfield said, "We hope that this important step by the FCC will be paired with stricter enforcement and a commitment by providers of all kinds to end the bad practices that give rise to this problem."

Spring Grove Communications (SGC) is a member of both NECA and NTCA.

"We, along with our supporting organizations, are vigilantly taking steps to report instances of call completion problems and voicing concern to our elected officials to resolve this epidemic," SGC manager Craig Otterness pointed out.

"It is more important than ever for those who experience friends and family members who cannot get through to REPORT THE ISSUE! Instruct the person trying to reach you to report the problem to their phone company/long distance provider so proper steps are taken.

"If no changes are made to improve the call experience, we will send the issue onto the FCC."

Visit SGC's website at www.yourlocal.coop and click on the link "Call Completion Issues" for additional information and a form to report any call completion issue experienced at your home or business.