Daniel K. InouyeSenator
It is easy to forget the small miracle of science that takes place every time you pick up a phone and make a call. No matter where you are in the country and no matter who you are calling, you are connected in a fraction of a second. This is possible because all telephone companies are required to interconnect with each other, to complete a phone call even if the carrier has no relationship with the calling party.
Historically, for the system to work, phone companies have sought compensation for the services they provided to other carriers. Today, many telephone companies complain that too many of the calls to their customers arrive lacking signaling information necessary for billing purposes. This so called “phantom traffic” financially burdens small carriers in particular.
I applaud Vice Chairman Stevens’ desire to shine a light on this issue. Today’s hearing allows us to explore the scope of the problem caused by phantom traffic. It also allows us to discuss legislation Vice Chairman Stevens intends to introduce that would direct the Federal Communications Commission to improve its signaling rules with respect to the transmission of information necessary for billing purposes.
I welcome the opportunity for the Committee to consider possible solutions to phantom traffic. As communications networks and consumer services have evolved over the past decade, the problem has grown more, not less, complex. Ultimately, we should strive for rules that ensure fair compensation for all service providers while encouraging continued innovation and greater network efficiency.
I look forward to hearing the testimony from today’s witnesses on this issue.
Mr. Charles W. McKeeDirector, Government Affairs – WirelessSprint Nextel
Ms. Angela SimpsonSenior Counsel for Government & Regulatory AffairsCovad Communications
Mr. Larry SarjeantVice President, Federal, Legislative, and Regulatory AffairsQwest Communications
Mr. Raymond HenaganGeneral ManagerRock Port Telephone Company