So right now, I think the FCC did as much as they could by focusing awareness and drawing attention to where the problem is - and more importantly, who is responsible. If there is sufficient public outcry, it will eventually force our government to do something more concrete. And hopefully address the root of the problem. But until then, don't hold your breath. There's a lot of telco lobby money leaning on Congress and the Senate. And the Congress and the Senate are leaning on the FCC as a result. And it is an election year...
But did it draw attention to the right place? As shown above, mwb1100 thought it was a Vonage problem. I think that given that Vonage is who is being paid for service, most people would think that. The onus should be on the receivers of the handshake, right?
You have two problems here. One is an antiquated landline systems that AT&T was allowed to abandon by dumping it on local rural phone companies that were created to take them over and thereby get AT&T off the hook. These are small companies that get a good part of their revenue by charging access fees to outside phone services coming into their system in order to keep subscriber rates down. (Remember these are rural markets that don't have a lot of pricing elasticity.) The system that identifies the inbound call and logs the fees owed adds some delay to the end connection.
The other problem is the big inbound services don't want to pay these access fees. So they have their own systems that attempt routing through the networks using a "least cost" logic. This routing adds additional delays to call completion.
On the local landline end there's not much you can do. These companies are small and sitting on an old and expensive to replace network. Going wireless would be quickest and easiest. But it's also the most fragile in the event of natural disasters. And the question of who
is going to build the cell towers, and how much the locals can afford to pay comes into play. And ideally there would need to be at least two
players to provide some token competition in the market.
Good luck. The telcos weren't interested in serving that market earlier. That's why they dumped it originally and ignored the promises they made about introducing new technology into that sector. And they certainly aren’t about to do so now that 5G and 6G - and selling content
- is where the money is. So much so that it's why these phone companies are now fighting something that always used to be seen as a given: net neutrality.
So at this point, about the only doable short-term semi
-solution is to light a fire under these bigger players. First, because you can't get blood from a stone - and those rural landline companies never had much blood to begin with. Second, because these bigger companies have a legal responsibility for the call connections originating on their own
networks. From the article in the OP:
In a Declaratory Ruling issued in February 2012, the FCC clarified that carrier practices that lead to call completion failure and poor call quality may violate the Communications Act's prohibition on unjust and unreasonable practices and violate a carrier's obligations under the Act to refrain from unjust or unreasonable discrimination in practices, facilities, or services. In a reference to the use of least-cost routing services, the FCC also reminded carriers that they remain responsible for the provision of service to their customers even when they contract with another service provider to carry a call to its destination.
Not that any of that stops players from challenging the FCC's authority in court and through direct pleas and favor swapping with elected officials:
Although the FCC also has prohibited Voice over Internet (VoIP) providers from blocking voice calls to or from the traditional telephone network, some VoIP providers have argued to a federal appeals court that the FCC lacks authority under the Communications Act to apply the no-blocking rule to VoIP calls.
But it's a step in the right direction until these problematic inter
carrier fees gradually get phased out under proposed new regulations.
And, as was noted in the article, once the bone of contention (i.e. fees) is eliminated, it removes the financial incentives to go with least-cost routing schemes, at which point it's expected the connection delay problem will go away.
And like everything, once that problem goes away, rest assured another even worse problem will arise to take it's place.