Receiving long-distance calls in rural areas can be challenging

More and more local, traditional telephone companies are receiving complaints that their customers often can’t receive long-distance telephone calls from some areas. The issue has become so widespread over the last five years that it has even got the attention of the United States Congress. In 2018, Congress passed legislation designed to force long-distance providers to improve their reliability.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency authorized by Congress to remedy these issues, the problem stems from long-distance carriers and wireless providers deciding how to complete calls based on cost rather than reliability.   They often contract with third-party service providers to make the connections using the ‘least cost method’ and all too often the lowest priced route is not reliable, resulting in poor voice quality, “dead-air” or in many cases not even connecting.

“It’s frustrating for subscribers located in rural and small-town America when they hear that someone tried to call them but couldn’t get through” said John Bartz, General Manager of Richland-Grant Telephone Cooperative and LaValle Telephone Cooperative. “Even more frustrating to them is the problem needs to be reported by the person making the call to their provider rather than by the person that failed to get the call.   When troubleshooting these problems, the technical staff must basically watch the call leave the callers phone, see where it goes and follow it all along the route to see where things break down.”

Michelle Harwick, Director of Subscriber Services at Genuine Telecom, said, “It’s even more complicated by privacy laws; we can’t call the provider on behalf of the calling person and ask them to look into the issue.   Federal privacy laws prohibit telephone carriers from doing much of anything with an account, including talking about phone trouble unless they can verify the person they are talking to is the actual account owner or has been previously authorized in writing.”

Rural businesses often don’t know how many calls they aren’t receiving unless they get an email from the caller or call a happens to go through and customers can tell them about the experience. Usually, once a business learns they aren’t receiving some calls they reach out their provider and expect them to fix the issue which is almost impossible. “Failed calls are not reaching the local providers; like Genuine Tel, Richland Grant and LaValle either so we have no way to backtrack. You have to start where the call is made from and that could be anywhere in the world,” added Bartz.

The FCC is trying to address the issue by implementing rules requiring any entity that provides call routing to register with the FCC. They are also requiring long-distance carriers to monitor and promptly remedy call completion issues, as well as, publish on their websites contact information for rural call completion issues.

The FCC also encourages people having issues completing long-distance calls to have the calling subscriber report details of the problem to their long-distance or wireless provider. Those numbers should appear directly on the persons monthly bill. Providers will need the caller’s number, the called number and the date and time the attempted calls or problem calls were made.   Businesses and individuals upon learning they are not receiving calls should also encourage the caller to report the issue.

For more information you can visit https://www.fcc.gov/general/rural-call-completion-problems-long-distance-or-wireless-calling-rural-areas

Winter Storm - Hours

Due to the extreme winter weather Genuine Telecom will be closing at 4:00 Monday. Tuesday we will be open 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Wednesday we will be closed and Thursday we will be open 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Predicted Sun Outages

Please be aware that during the times listed below we will expereince degraded or complete channel signal loss as the sun moves through our satellite reception arc.

Sun Outage Prediction - Fall 2018

   

Date

Start CDT - 89W

End CDT - 135W

10/3/2018

12:39

15:37

10/4/2018

12:37

15:38

10/5/2018

12:37

15:38

10/6/2018

12:36

15:38

10/7/2018

12:36

15:38

10/8/2018

12:36

15:38

10/9/2018

12:36

15:38

10/10/2018

12:37

15:35

10/11/2018

12:39

15:33

 

CONSUMER ALERT

PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST 'NEIGHBOR SPOOFING', SCAM CALLERS PLACING PHONE CALLS THAT APPEAR TO BE LOCAL

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2018 - The Federal Communications Commission is warming consumers about "neighbor spoofing" scams where thieves manipulate caller ID information in ways that make calls appear to have been placed locally.  While a call might originate overseas, the caller ID information on the recipient's phone would appear as though the call is coming from the consumer's own area code and local exchange.  In general, scammers use such spoofing to increase the likelihood that consumers pick up the phone and to increase consumer's trust in the call.

CONSUMER TIPS

*Be Aware: Caller ID showing a "local" number no longer means it is cecissarily a local caller.

*Don't answer calls from unknown numbers.

*Don' provide any personal information to callers.

*Review call blocking tools provided by your phone company or 3rd party app developers.

*File a complaint with the FCC.

The FCC is confronting the problem of illegal robocalls and malicious spoofing through strong enforcement and policy changes.  In 2017 along, the Commission proposed over $200 million in fines against telemarketers who apparently used malicious spoofing to try and sell time-shares and insurance.  These enforcement actions were the first of their kind and were built in large party as a result of complaints from the public filed at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov

MORE CONSUMER TIPS

*If the caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, hang up and call them back using a valid number found on their website or on your latest bill if you do business with them.

*If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, or asks you to say "yes" in response to a question, just hang up.  Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents, or to use your "yes" to apply unautorized charges to your bill.

*If you answer and the caller asks for payment using a gift card, it's likely a scam.  Legitimate organizations like law enforcement will not ask for payment with a gift card.

*If you have lost money as a result of a scam call, contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

*Consider registering all of your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registery. Lawful telemarketers use this list to avoid calling consumers on the list.

Everyone that believes they have been targeted by a robocall scam may file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center, the FTC Complaint Assistant or the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker.  The FCC reviews consumer complaints and may utilize them in enforcement actions to inform its policy-making work.

Page 1 of 5

Contact Us

Genuine Telecom
1027 N Jefferson St.
PO Box 409
Richland Center, WI 53581
608-647-2345 or:
888-454-5114
608-647-4265 (Fax)

Email: info@genuinetel.com

Back To Top