Global Tel*Link Expresses Grave Concern with Proposed FCC Decision on Inmate Calling Services
Order Ensures All Parties Lose, Company will Pursue Stay of FCC decision
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2015 / (PRNewswire-USNewswire/) – Today, Global Tel*Link (GTL) expressed its dismay and concern about the impact of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) latest order instituting new regulations for the Inmate Calling Services (ICS) industry. These new regulations establish caps on rates and fees for intra- and interstate calls, but stop short of capping site commissions – rather opting to “strongly discourage” these payments to facility administrators.
These steps create significant financial instability in the industry and will pose a threat to service at many of the nation’s smaller jails. Consequently, GTL is left with no choice but to seek judicial review of the FCC’s order. GTL agrees with the concerns of the dissenting commissioners and encourages all stakeholders to join in challenging this well-intended yet disastrously short-sighted plan.
“In today’s decision, the FCC may ultimately hurt inmates and their families – the very people they set out to help. While they might see lower per-minute rates, they could be left with either the lowest quality of phone service or no phone service at all,” said GTL CEOBrian Oliver. “Indeed, telling the world that technology, security, and commissions can all be provided under the proposed caps is profoundly naïve, ignores the FCC’s own record and defies common sense.”
The FCC’s latest order creates a financial tsunami for the ICS industry. The order reduces rates below the sustainable cost of service for providers and preserves the largest driver of overhead costs. This could have a crippling impact not only on service providers, which may be forced to cancel contracts, but on inmates and their families, many of whom may be left with no service at all.
“GTL supports bringing cutting edge technologies and affordable phone service to facilities, inmates, and their families across the United States. We have demonstrated this commitment repeatedly by working with our industry partners to develop a sustainable and comprehensive solution that would reduce costs for consumers. By ignoring this proposal and the overwhelming evidence submitted in support of it, today’s FCC order could have the opposite effect,” Oliver said.
“As an industry we were willing to compromise. We worked collaboratively, hand-in-hand with staff and Commissioner Clyburn’s office to seek sustainable public policy outcome. But at the 11th hour, the FCC turned its back on a ten year record and has fallen short of that goal,” Oliver continued.
GTL has consistently advocated for a balanced approach towards reigning in phone rates – one that would address, rates, fees, and commissions in a comprehensive manner that utilizes the numerous cost studies submitted to the docket by facility administrators, service providers, and interested third party organizations. As the FCC has decided to ignore the body of evidence that points to this common-sense reform model, GTL will be forced take this argument to the court, with the hope that the end result will be long-lasting, affordable phone service for our nation’s inmates and their loved ones.
“Despite this misguided attempt at reform, GTL is committed to seeking an outcome that is balanced, delivers on the promise of low rates and fees, while addressing the leading cost factor. We must, unfortunately, again seek the intervention of the courts to ensure an outcome that is truly fair, balanced and sustainable,” Oliver said.
About Global Tel*Link
GTL is the leading provider of integrated correctional technology solutions, delivering financial value, security, and ease of operation to our customers through visionary products and solutions at the forefront of corrections innovation. As a trusted correctional industry leader, GTL provides service to approximately fifty percent of inmates nationwide, including service to 33 state departments of corrections, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 33 of the largest city/county facilities. GTL is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, with more than 10 regional offices across the country. To find out more about GTL, please visit our website www.gtl.net.
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Corrections Today July/August 2015 (.pdf)
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March / April 2015 (.pdf)