Chairman Ajit Pai will propose on Wednesday granting mobile phone companies new powers to block the rising number of unwanted "robocalls", industry officials briefed on the plans said. But it would shield telecom providers from legal liability for blocking certain calls.
Right now, customers have to take the extra step of requesting tools from their carriers or downloading apps from other companies to help them weed out most unwanted calls.
Currently, consumers often must elect to use carriers' robocall-blocking tools, some of them costing a monthly fee, which means "fewer people are using these services", Pai said.
The U.S. telecommunications regulator is expected to approve Pai's proposal at its June 6 meeting. The volume of calls has risen to roughly 5 billion per month, according to call-blocker YouMail, from 2.7 billion in November 2017.
"The criminals that are scamming consumers with this flood of illegal robocalls must be confronted by industry and government head-on", the group's president and CEO Jonathan Spalter said in a statement. In addition, consumers would be allowed to opt-out of any blocking services they do not want. It estimates there were 4.9 billion calls placed in April 2019 - a rate of 14.9 calls per person. We know robocallers are annoying to our customers.
Pai on Wednesday issued a declaratory ruling, which would explicitly allow carriers to automatically block spoofed calls, so they never reach their intended recipients.
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People received about 60 incoming calls from 'unrecognized numbers or numbers not linked to a person in their contact list'.
"It is very important that the proposal makes it clear that emergency and other vital calls are not blocked and that carriers give consumers ample information about these services and methods", Pai told reporters.
Pai said many service providers have held off developing and deploying default call-blocking tools because of uncertainty about whether the tools are legal under the FCC rules.
We've all been there by now: Phone numbers similar to your own call you multiple times a day, only to reveal themselves as scam operations.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed new rules to combat robocalls. "I sincerely hope this is not too little, too late", she wrote on Twitter.