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SENATE RESOLUTION 157--EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT TELEPHONE SERVICE MUST BE IMPROVED IN RURAL AREAS OF THE UNITED STATES AND THAT NO ENTITY MAY UNREASONABLY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST...
(Senate - May 23, 2013)

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[Page S3865]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




    SENATE RESOLUTION 157--EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT 
TELEPHONE SERVICE MUST BE IMPROVED IN RURAL AREAS OF THE UNITED STATES 
  AND THAT NO ENTITY MAY UNREASONABLY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TELEPHONE 
                          USERS IN THOSE AREAS

  Ms. KLOBUCHAR (for herself, Mr. Johnson of South Dakota, Mrs. 
Fischer, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Merkley, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Pryor, 
Mr. Grassley, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Enzi, Ms. Baldwin, and Mr. Thune) 
submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee 
on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:

                              S. Res. 157

       Whereas all people in the United States rely on quality, 
     efficient, and dependable telephone service in many aspects 
     of life, including conducting business, securing the safety 
     of the public, and connecting families;
       Whereas multiple surveys conducted by the National Exchange 
     Carrier Association revealed that complaints of uncompleted 
     telephone calls persist, with the most recent survey in 
     October 2012 indicating a 41 percent increase in uncompleted 
     calls between March and September of the same year;
       Whereas the National Exchange Carrier Association and rural 
     telecommunications carriers in April 2012 supplied 
     information that--
       (1) 6.4 percent of calls to rural areas failed, but only 
     0.5 percent of calls to urban areas failed; and
       (2) 11 percent of calls to rural areas were either poor 
     quality or were delayed, compared to only 5 percent in urban 
     areas;
       Whereas the Federal Communications Commission was made 
     aware of an issue regarding telephone service connection in 
     rural areas in November 2010 and has since issued a 
     declaratory ruling and a notice of proposed rulemaking with 
     respect to the issue and has reached a settlement with one 
     telecommunications carrier;
       Whereas, in a declaratory ruling in February 2012, the 
     Federal Communications Commission made it clear that blocking 
     or otherwise restricting telephone service is a violation of 
     section 201(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 
     201(b)), which prohibits unjust or unreasonable practices, 
     and section 202(a) of that Act (47 U.S.C. 202(a)), which 
     outlines the duty of a telecommunications carrier to refrain 
     from discrimination;
       Whereas actions by the Federal Communications Commission 
     have not significantly decreased the prevalence of telephone 
     calls being rerouted by telecommunications carriers and some 
     States are seeing an increase in complaints as of April 2013;
       Whereas telephone communications are vital to keeping rural 
     areas of the United States competitive in the economy, and a 
     low rate of telephone call completion results in economic 
     injury to rural businesses, including farmers, trucking 
     companies, and suppliers who have seen thousands of dollars 
     in business lost when telephone calls are not completed;
       Whereas the safety of the public is at risk from a lack of 
     quality telephone communications, including 911 services;
       Whereas schools depend on telephone calls to notify 
     students and parents of emergencies, and health care centers 
     depend on telecommunications services to save lives and to 
     communicate with rural patients;
       Whereas small, local telecommunications carriers are losing 
     valuable, multi-line business subscribers because of a lack 
     of quality telecommunications services, which is financially 
     detrimental to those carriers and adversely affects the rural 
     communities served by those carriers; and
       Whereas it may cost a telecommunications carrier serving a 
     rural area hundreds of dollars to investigate each complaint 
     of an uncompleted telephone call: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that--
       (1) all providers must appropriately complete calls to all 
     areas of the United States regardless of the technology used 
     by the providers;
       (2) no entity may unreasonably discriminate against 
     telephone users in rural areas of the United States; and
       (3) the Federal Communications Commission should--
       (A) aggressively pursue those that violate the rules of the 
     Federal Communications Commission and create these problems, 
     and impose swift and meaningful enforcement actions to 
     discourage--
       (i) practices leading to telephone calls not being 
     completed in rural areas of the United States; and
       (ii) unreasonable discrimination against telephone users in 
     rural areas of the United States; and
       (B) move forward with clear, comprehensive, and enforceable 
     actions in order to establish a robust and definitive 
     solution to discrimination against telephone users in rural 
     areas of the United States.

                          ____________________




    

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