Monday, 20 May, 2019

FCC Wants to Give Phone Companies Ability to Block Robocalls by Default

Robocalls Phone carriers could soon protect you from scammers under new FCC proposal FCC's Ajit Pai wants to give phone companies more power to block robocalls
Cecil Davis | 18 May, 2019, 04:41

"This is a big and bold proposal by the FCC that can bolster our industry's cutting-edge call blocking and authentication efforts and do something important: stop unwanted calls from reaching consumers in the first place".

According to a news release from the FCC released Wednesday, many providers had held off on developing and implementing call-blocking tools by default because they weren't sure if it was legal under the FCC's rules to implement them. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) knows that rampant robocalls are a problem in this country and made a proposal this week that could help out. "By making it clear that such call blocking is allowed, the FCC will give voice service providers the legal certainty they need to block unwanted calls from the outset so that consumers never have to get them", said Chairman Pai.

Commissioners are expected to vote June 6 to allow carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, to automatically register customers for technology to block calls from telephone numbers not in the phones' contacts lists.

Reuters reports the usa telecommunications regulator is expected to approve Pai's proposal at its June 6 meeting.

The proposal would establish call blocking services as a default setting for consumers.

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, lawmakers have proposed a slew of bills that would upgrade federal anti-robocall rules.

Pai has also been urging phone carriers to adopt an authentication system, dubbed SHAKEN/STIR, which can differentiate between legit phone calls and spoofed ones.

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"We chose this industry-led path because it is the fastest way to help consumers, but I remain committed to taking regulatory action" if carriers do not act this year, Pai said in a statement on Monday.

In November, Pai wrote to the chief executive officers of major providers demanding they launch the system no later than 2019 to combat robocalls.

Robocall-tracking company YouMail estimates there were 48 billion unwanted calls in the U.S.in 2018, up 60% from 2017.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel weighed in on the proposal on Wednesday morning.

One study says Americans received more than 26 billion robocalls previous year.

In its analysis, Hiya found that people received an average of about 10 spam calls per month.

Several existing applications also require a fee, but Pai says costs would be reduced under the new system because its more expensive to handle the ongoing flood of robocalls.