U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (PA-04) introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would improve telecommunications services for servicemen and women as they travel through foreign airports to and from deployment overseas. A recent report by NBC highlighted a story of a soldier, making a refueling stop at a German airport, being charged more than $40 for a telephone call home that lasted only a few seconds.
"I am disheartened by stories of servicemembers paying exorbitant rates to call home while in transit overseas," Congressman Altmire said. "Our servicemembers deserve better. For servicemembers in transit, a phone call is often their only link to their loved ones at home. They should have affordable telecommunications services when they're away from home, and that's what this amendment seeks to accomplish."
Congressman Altmire's amendment to the NDAA would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a report on the feasibility of providing market-rate or below-market-rate telecommunications services to troops traveling through foreign airports to and from their deployments. The amendment would also require DOD to investigate allegations of telecommunications companies specifically targeting military personnel with above-market-rate fees for usage as they travel to and from deployment.