The FCC’s high-profile efforts with regard to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) continue. In addition to two controversial orders released in the last two weeks, the FCC is pushing the telecommunications industry to take action on blocking techniques. Now the FCC has announced that it will host a meeting for what is billed as an industry-led “Robocall Strike Force.” The Strike Force was created after Chairman Wheeler took to the FCC blog to prod the industry to action.
According to the FCC press release, the Robocall Strike Force will work to “develop comprehensive solutions to prevent, detect, and filter unwanted robocalls” and advise the FCC on the role government can play in this effort. The Strike Force will be headed up by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. Other carriers, including Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and CenturyLink, have also agreed to participate in the Strike Force. The Strike Force will hold its first meeting on Friday, August 19, at the FCC’s headquarters. The first part of the meeting will be open to the public and will be broadcast on the Commission’s website. Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Clyburn will offer opening remarks to the group.
Notably, this group is not a formal federal advisory committee, and does not have the process or procedural requirements that would accompany such a group. It is not clear what the group will address, or how it will operate going forward. To us, the primary take-away from the existence of the group is the FCC’s high-profile involvement in it. Chairman Wheeler has a limited amount of time before the election (and the customary turn-over that occurs at that time), and it appears that he is intent upon driving the introduction of blocking techniques in the wireless industry before he leaves.