Tag: Pai

Today, Chairman Pai resided over his first FCC March Open meeting. Top of the agenda? Robocalls and how to stop them. Hear! Hear!

The proposed rule-making and inquiries were broken down into two parts:

Rules that remove regulatory uncertainties so voice service providers can block certain robocalls without fear.

With this proposal, providers may block spoofed calls when the actual subscriber to the spoofed number makes a “do not originate” request. Additionally, this would give the green light for legislation to allow additional call blocking of the following numbers:

  • Invalid Numbers: this includes numbers with unassigned area codes, numbers that use N11 codes (such as “911” or “411”) in place of an area code, and numbers not allocated by the North American or International numbering plan administrators
  • Valid numbers that are not allocated to a provider
  • Valid numbers that are allocated to a provider but not assigned to a subscriber  

The team also asked for comment on how to treat calls that originate internationally.

Notice of Inquiry that expressly permits providers to block calls that don’t follow one of the above criteria but do appear to be illegal.

Here, the team stated they were looking for objective criteria that a provider might use to identify illegal robocalls and the accuracy of these methods. They also asked what protections could be established to ensure that legitimate calls, that share similarities to illegal robocalls, won’t be blocked.

The first proposal of the FCC March Open passed.

Now, let’s put an end to those robocalls!

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When Ajit Pai was appointed the new FCC Chairman, there were a lot of questions about what changes he would make following former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s time in office. One of those questions revolved around robocalls and how to stop them. While some may have been nervous that Chairman Pai would let this fight go by the wayside, Hiya never was.

Back in September, after the recent launch of an industry-led Robocall Strike Force, Hiya hosted the FCC at our Seattle headquarters. Visitors included then-Chairman Tom Wheeler, then-Commissioner Ajit Pai, and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

What did then-Commissioner Pai have to say about his visit?

“I had the pleasure, a few weeks ago, of meeting with an innovative company called Hiya, up in Seattle, and one of the things they showed me was that Americans have received 984 million robocalls on their cell phones, in September alone. That’s 4.5 robocalls for each mobile phone in the United States. That’s why I think it’s so important for this industry, including those participating in the Robocalls Strike Force, to do this job.” -Former Commissioner Pai, now Chairman Pai

It wasn’t just lip service. Since his appointment at the end of January, Chairman Pai has continued to highlight the robocall epidemic and his plans to put these annoying calls to an end. Earlier this month, Chairman Pai circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to his fellow Commissioners proposing service providers the ability to block illegal and fraudulent robocalls.

“Under my proposal, the FCC would give providers greater leeway to block spoofed robocalls,” Pai announced. “Specifically, they could block calls that purport to be from unassigned or invalid phone numbers (there’s a database that keeps track of all phone numbers, and many of them aren’t assigned to a voice service provider or aren’t otherwise in use). There is no reason why any legitimate caller should be spoofing an unassigned or invalid phone number. It’s just a way for scammers to evade the law.”

This Thursday, March 23, exactly two months after Pai accepted the role as Chairman, the FCC is holding their March Open meeting and robocalls are at the very top of the agenda. We look forward to hearing Chairman Pai’s plans to continue the fight against unwanted calls.

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