What is Least Cost Routing?

A caller to a rural number often may get a busy signal or a recorded message inaccurately saying the number is no longer in service. Other times, it sounds to the caller as if the number is ringing, but the rural customer's phone never rings or the call is dropped after a couple of rings.

The problem happens largely in rural areas because that's where long-distance or wireless carriers pay higher-than-average fees to complete calls. To reduce their own costs, some long-distance or wireless companies today will contract with third-party "least-cost-routing" (LCR) services to connect those types of calls at the lowest price possible.

Playing hot potato

The least-cost routers sometimes seek complicated routes to minimize their own fees and other charges. A call is passed in hot-potato fashion from the long-distance provider to another carrier that will handle it for the lowest cost, and in turn to yet another carrier.

"In some cases, the calls become looped in the network and are never completed. In other cases, the calls are delivered via a low quality network which results in poor sound quality.

In one case that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission examined, a call from Milwaukee to northeast Wisconsin was routed through carriers in Singapore, Dubai, and parts of Europe including Russia.

What are we doing?

As a company we are currently in negotiations to improve this issue for some of our customers, however since the problem lies in the phone connections made outside of our network this problem will persist as long as companies are allowed to do this, so we can't solve this without your help.

Here’s what you can do to help: 

(1)Ask the person trying to call you for the name of their long distance carrier or wireless provider and file an informal complaint with the FCC against their long distance carrier or wireless provider (not TVC); (2) file a complaint with your state legislators in Washington DC; and (3) encourage the person who tried to call you to file an informal complaint with the FCC and a complaint with their state legislators in Washington DC.

Informal Complaint to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Click this FCC Complaint Link to be taken to an online submission form that will be immediately submitted. You can also submit your form by calling 888-225-5322. For the FCC to take action on your informal complaint, you must provide:
    •    The caller’s number
    •    The called number
    •    The date the attempted calls or problem calls were made.

If possible, you should identify the long distance carrier or wireless telephone service provider that serves the caller. Try to explain the impact that the Rural Call Completion Problem and LCR has had on you in your daily personal and/or professional life.

Complaint to the United States Senators for the State of Wisconsin: Send a complaint letter to the representative for your area

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