U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today praised final House and Senate passage of legislation he cosponsored, the Call Home Act of 2006. The bill directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in coordination with the Department of Defense and the Department of State, to seek to reduce phone rates for Armed Forces personnel deployed overseas.
“Our military men and women serving overseas make great sacrifices to protect our freedom. It is our responsibility to support them and their families here at home, and the Call Home Act is a practical way to do that,” said Alexander. “We know how important it is for our troops to keep in touch with their loved ones, and this bill will look for ways to make it less expensive for them to call home.”
The legislation authorizes the FCC to take actions necessary to reduce phone bills for troops deployed overseas, including the waiver of government fees, assessments, or other charges. However, the Call Home Act would not allow the FCC to engage in rate regulation.
In seeking to reduce such telephone rates, the legislation directs the FCC to evaluate and analyze the costs of calls to and from official duty stations; evaluate methods of reducing rates including the deployment of new technology such as Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP); encourage phone companies to adopt flexible billing for troops and their dependents; and seek agreements with foreign governments to reduce international surcharges on phone calls.
The Call Home Act of 2006, sponsored by Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Daniel Inouye (D-HI), updates legislation from 1992 which directed the FCC to seek to reduce phone bills to troops in specific countries. This legislation ensures that the FCC’s efforts benefit our troops wherever they may be deployed overseas.
The Call Home Act of 2006 now goes to the President for his signature.