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Commission Opens Investigation Into Rural Telephone Problems
July  5, 2011
Contacts:    Susan Ackerman, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962, Bryan Conway 503-378-6200
Salem, OR.  Today the Oregon Public Utility Commission opened a formal investigation into long distance problems that are plaguing some rural Oregonians who are experiencing dropped telephone calls, poor voice quality on calls, calls where only one person can hear, and incorrect caller ID information.
“This is frustrating and confusing for customers who are losing their ability to contact family members. Businesses that depend on being able to receive customer calls and critical faxes are also being affected, as well as the ability to identify 911 calls,” Bryan Conway Administrator of the PUC Telecommunications Division said.   “We have a general idea of possible causes for these problems. However, this investigation will provide us with more information and possible solutions.”  
Oregon PUC staff conducted a Call Termination Issue Workshop on Friday, June 24, 2011 at the request of the Oregon Telephone Association (OTA). The OTA  represents local exchange telephone companies who are concerned with call completion issues their customers are facing.
 At the workshop, industry members said their customers are experiencing an increase in problems receiving long distance phone calls and faxes in rural service areas. Other long distance problems reported by consumers include unusually long setup times, dropped calls, poor voice quality on received calls, or calls where only the calling party can hear.  This issue is affecting livelihoods and the ability to contact family members from outside rural areas.
Customers who are experiencing these sorts of problems are encouraged to the call the Oregon Public Utility Commission Consumer complaint line at 1-800-522-2404.