Rural phone bill passes House

Telephone service in rural areas of the U.S. could improve under a measure supported by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colorado, that has passed the House twice in the last two years. (Courtesy Creative Commons)

Telephone service in rural areas of the U.S. could improve under a measure supported by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colorado, that has passed the House twice in the last two years. (Courtesy Creative Commons)

A bill to strengthen telephone connectivity in rural communities across the United States has passed the House for the second straight year. U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colorado, has supported the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act that passed the House unanimously both times, most recently on Jan. 23.

“In cities and suburban areas, many people take for granted their reliable phone service, but for families and businesses in rural communities, dropped calls and poor connectivity are a real problem,” Tipton said in a news release. “It’s frustrating, but it can also be extremely dangerous from a public safety perspective.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colorado

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colorado

The bill would ensure rural communities receive quality phone service by directing the Federal Communications Commission to set basic reliability standards for all service providers that send voice calls. It would require third-party intermediate providers to register with the FCC. Third-party intermediate providers carry long distance phone calls in rural areas between providers, such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. The bill also requires the FCC to issue rules establishing service quality standards for those providers.

“It’s 2017, and it’s absolutely unacceptable that any family or business in this country wouldn’t have access to reliable phone service,” Tipton added. “I’m glad the House has passed this common sense legislation that will help ensure Coloradans know they can contact their family members, conduct outreach to their customers, and reach emergency providers at all times.”

Sponsored by Rep. David Young, (R-Iowa), the bill, HR 460, was referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Last year’s bill was never considered by the Senate.

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