Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Reports spread of rural long-distance calls being lost; Oregon officials say they will investigate

Oregon officials say they will investigate complaints by rural telephone companies, like those in some other states, that customers' long-distance calls are being dropped. The problem "is especially significant with fax machines, which need to establish a stable connection to transmit a document, Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian reports.

"Big phone companies seek to contain expenses for long-distance calls with a practice called 'least-cost routing' -- sending a long-distance call over the cheapest network," Rogoway explains. "Local companies in Oregon complain that some carriers are using Internet technology to cut the cost of carrying the call and dodge local fees -- sometimes at the expense of call quality or connections." That appears to happen more in rural areas because "long-haul carriers seek to avoid the high costs associated with serving remote areas with relatively few people," Rogoway reports.

Canby Telecom told the Oregon Public Utilities Commission last month that 3 percent of its calls are being affected. To see the company's presentation, click here.

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