Feature Article

March 14, 2013

High Standards for Call Completion to Rural Areas is Agreed Upon by Level 3 and the FCC

Rural areas in the U.S. have been getting a lot of attention lately, especially when it comes to telecommunications. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently conducting an industry wide review of the type of telephone service that is being provided to rural areas. This has become a very extensive and comprehensive review.

The main focus of the FCC review is to judge the performance of carriers and how they handle going through a third party. In most cases, the carriers have to deal with third party, downstream providers that are essential to actually being able to complete a call.

The FCC made a lot of data requests of several providers across the industry. Level 3 Communications (Level 3), a multinational telecommunications and Internet service provider, is one of the companies approached by the FCC. Headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, according to Level 3, they welcomed the opportunity to work collaboratively with the FCC on this important issue. They are also the first carrier in the industry to agree to telephone call quality standards. Level 3 is hoping that the rest of the industry will follow suit.

Michael Mooney, the general counsel of Regulatory Policy for Level 3 Communications, explained, "Working with the FCC gave us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to call quality by jointly establishing a standard set of practices and quality safeguards for the industry to follow. We are committed to ensuring that our high standards for operational excellence and customer experience are met, even by our third party suppliers. We believe that the establishment of these new standards with the FCC will be reassuring to rural consumers and to customers calling them. We hope that all other voice providers will follow our lead and commit to achieving similar high call performance standards."

Last year in April 2012, the National Exchange Carrier Association conducted a study of 30 providers, and identified Level 3 as one of only two carriers that had the best performance. The study was conducted to see how many call completions were made to rural areas, with the goal being to have the lowest overall percentage of incomplete calls to the rural destinations.

The National Exchange Carrier Association is a not-for-profit association created in 1984 by telecommunications companies to administer the fees that long distance companies pay to access local telephone networks in the United States. Their study showed that Level 3 was able to complete about 90 percent of its total call minutes across the country. This was done using Level 3’s own network facilities.

In a statement from Shaun Andrews, Level 3's senior vice president for Global Voice Services:

Working with the FCC gave us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to call quality by jointly establishing a standard set of practices and quality safeguards for the industry to follow. We are committed to ensuring that our high standards for operational excellence and customer experience are met, even by our third party suppliers. We believe that the establishment of these new standards with the FCC will be reassuring to rural consumers and to customers calling them. We hope that all other voice providers will follow our lead and commit to achieving similar high call performance standards.

On March 12, 2013, Level 3 commented on the FCC statement concerning telephone call completion in rural America. It seems that Level 3 is strongly committed to working with the FCC to not only help create standards that all of the carriers would have to follow, but they are determined to provide good quality phone service to the rural areas that characteristically have problems.




Edited by Allison Boccamazzo


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