Businesses object to FCC’s plan to block robocalls

Illegal robocalls and caller ID-spoofing spam calls have experienced a surge in recent years. (Pixabay)

Debt collectors, banks, healthcare providers and other businesses are voicing objections to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to allow phone companies to block unwanted calls.


Pai has proposed allowing wireless carriers to block unwanted calls to their customers “by default.”


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceWireless!

The Wireless industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FierceWireless as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on this increasingly competitive marketplace. Sign up today to get wireless news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.


In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking draft, Pai outlined a policy that would create a safe harbor for providers that implement network-wide blocking of calls that fail caller authentication under the SHAKEN/STIR framework. The new rules would also allow carriers to help consumers to block calls not on their own contact list.


RELATED: FCC proposes new rules to allow carriers to block robocalls 'by default'


The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that lobbyists representing a spectrum of businesses met with FCC officials last week to urge the regulatory body to delay its planned vote on the proposal, slated for June 6.


Those firms fear the rule may result in carriers blocking important calls from businesses that are trying to reach their customers. Banks and debt collectors in particular, who consider automated calls to be “crucial,” according to WSJ, fear that their calls would be blocked under the new system.


Representatives of the debt collection trade body ACA International, the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, the Credit Union National Association and the American Bankers Association, were among those who met with Federal Communications Commission staff to discuss the proposal.


Some of the representatives warned that the proposal could prevent some companies from complying with existing consumer protection rules that require them to contact customers under certain circumstances. Others argued that the proposal would not give consumers nor customers the opportunity to know that a call had been blocked. Some companies have also argued that the rule could create a public safety issue, if urgent communications not deemed “emergency communications” are able to be blocked.


Illegal robocalls and caller ID-spoofing spam calls have experienced a surge in recent years. According to call management and software firm First Orion, spam calls accounted for just 3.7% of all phone calls made to smartphones in 2017. But in 2018, 29% of all calls to mobile phones were spam. That number was expected to reach 44% during the first months of 2019.


Lobbyists asked the FCC to seek public comment on the proposal, according to WSJ.


Suggested Articles

Dish could announce a $6 billion deal as early as this week for wireless prepaid and spectrum assets from T-Mobile and Sprint, according to Bloomberg.

Apple is exploring options to diversify production after deeming its reliance on China as risky.

Starting this summer, the partners will deploy Ericsson’s 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software to 82 macro cell sites across Anchorage