The U.S. House of Representatives today voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included an amendment from Congressman Jason Altmire (PA-04) improve telecommunications services for servicemen and women as they travel through foreign airports to and from deployment overseas. Congressman Altmire filed the amendment in response to a NBC story which investigated reports of phone companies charging troops high phone usage fees overseas, in some cases more than $40 for only a few seconds.
"For our military men and women serving overseas, phone calls home are few and far between," Congressman Altmire said. "Charging servicemembers outrageous phone usage fees is disappointing, and this amendment moves us one step closer to providing affordable telecommunications services while troops are in transit overseas. I will work with my colleagues to ensure this language is included in the enactment of the NDAA."
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.