The Telecommunications Law Resource Center is the most comprehensive reference and news platform for communications law, covering broadcasting, cable, broadband, telephony and wireless;...
By Lydia Beyoud
Aug. 19 — The telecommunications industry is working to deliver a solution within the next 60 days to unwanted telemarketing calls and robocalls, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said Aug. 19 at the inaugural meeting of the industry-led Robocall Strike Force.
But without a solution to what Wheeler called a “scourge” upon consumers, the FCC would take action, he said. “But let me be clear: This is an industry group. We believe in multistakeholder solutions. And when the whole ecosystem can come together, it can produce good results,” Wheeler said during the public portion of the meeting. “But without results, we will be forced to look for other solutions, because this scourge must stop.”
The FCC has ramped up its efforts to crack down on robocalls since Wheeler joined the commission in 2013. On July 22, Wheeler sent letters to the wireless and wireline industries and intermediary carriers asking them to implement call-blocking services and help tackle caller ID spoofing practices immediately. Robocalls and telemarketing calls are the foremost consumer complaint received by the agency.
USTelecom, a trade industry group whose members include AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc. and CenturyLink Inc., also on the task force, is supporting the effort. “USTelecom agrees with the FCC and others that an industry-wide effort involving all stakeholders is needed to combat the problem,” the group said in an Aug. 19 statement.
Wheeler and AT&T Inc. Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson called for a broad-based approach, drawing on the expertise of the entire telecom industry supply chain, to find solutions to end unwanted calls. Thirty-three companies are part of the strike force, including AT&T, Apple Inc., Comcast Corp., Nokia Oyj, Qualcomm Inc. and Windstream Holdings Inc.
“This is going to require more than individual company initiatives and one-off blocking apps,” Stephenson said. “Robocallers are a formidable adversary, notoriously hard to stop,” he added.
Stephenson, who is leading the task force, noted industry members have already committed to several measures to block robocalls, including an effort to evaluate whether to create a “do not originate” list which would work to block calls made from anywhere in the world via voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) technology.
The push to curb fraudsters using caller ID spoofing technology might also help speed the transition to IP-based phone networks, another effort being made by the FCC and the telecom industry.
AT&T and USTelecom said regulatory policies leading to a faster transition to IP-based networks would help with the robocall effort.
“Caller ID authentication works best with IP-based networks and services. And a traditional voice network limits automated technological fixes,” AT&T said in a July 6 blog post on the issue.
Many telecom carriers are eager to retire legacy copper-line networks in favor of fiber optic cable and other infrastructure to support IP networks, which allow for higher-capacity broadband, more efficient and flexible operation and lower maintenance costs. Critics of the transition worry that telecom service providers will abandon older network infrastructure if they are freed of legacy phone regulations.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of Wheeler's remarks is at http://src.bna.com/hTg.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)