|Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
|News media information 202 / 418-0500
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FCC EXPANDS INTERNATIONAL LONG DISTANCE CALLING INITIATIVE
Washington, DC - At today's meeting of the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC), the Consumer Information Bureau and the International Bureau presented a report to the
Commission highlighting the wide range of prices American consumers can pay for the same
international long distance call. The report presented options for consumers to save money on
these calls. The bureaus announced release of their International Long Distance Calling
brochure in twelve languages in addition to English. The English language version has been
available since August 31.|
In addition to English, the brochure is now available in Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. These languages were identified as being among those used by the largest non-English speaking populations making international long distance calls from this country.
Generally, long distance calls are billed by the minute. If consumers have made no advance arrangements with their phone company to participate in a calling plan, and they just pick up their phone and place an international call, they will be paying basic (non-discounted) rates. In addition to offering basic rates, telephone companies offer a variety of other ways to charge international calls. Calling plans, dial-around, pre-paid cards, and callback services often offer rates that are much lower than a company's basic rates. The brochure explains in detail all these options.
Although rates vary from company to company, here are sample costs for calls to France from the U.S. at basic and discounted rates:
Unless people participate in a discount calling plan, just picking up their phones and placing international long distance calls can be expensive. The spread between basic rates and a discount calling plan is so great that even one, relatively short, call per month can be cheaper on a calling plan.
It is more important than ever that consumers shop around and compare prices for plans, dial-arounds, pre-paid calling cards and callbacks. Consumers should know and understand their calling patterns and make an informed choice when placing international calls.
To obtain a copy of the brochure in any of the 13 available languages and to get any other information on international long distance calling contact the FCC's Consumer Center at 1-888- CALL-FCC [1-888-225-5322 (Voice)] or 1-888-TELL-FCC [1-888-835-5322 (TTY)]; or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The International Long Distance Calling Brochure can be downloaded from CIB's website at the addresses noted below.
Consumer Information Bureau contacts: Dan Rumelt at (202) 418-7512.