Just before the end of the year, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking industry input regarding call blocking measures implemented to date, as well as the impact and effectiveness such measures have had following its Call Blocking Declaratory Ruling.

Under the Call Blocking Declaratory Ruling, adopted on June 6, 2019, the FCC authorized carriers to deploy analytics-based call blocking by default. This is, the rules gave carriers the option of opting consumers in by default to call blocking technology that blocks “unwanted” calls based on “reasonable analytics.” These rules are not mandatory, but permissive, and do not impose a standardized technology or specific procedure to implement call blocking.

Further, under the Call Blocking Declaratory Ruling, the FCC directed the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, in consultation with the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB), to prepare two reports on the state of deployment of advanced methods and tools to eliminate unwanted and illegal robocalls. The first report is due on June 2020, and the second 12 months later.

For these purposes, and in preparation of its first report, the FCC has asked the industry for comments and information on the following topics:

  • Availability of Call-Blocking Tools: The Commission seeks information on the availability of call-blocking tools offered to consumers, new tools that are under development, as well as data regarding consumer choices on this matter and applicable fees.
  • Effectiveness of Call-Blocking Tools: The FCC also seeks data and other information on the effectiveness of the tools currently being offered to consumers, as well as the appropriate metrics to measure such effectiveness.
  • Impact of FCC Actions: The Public Notice also asks how have voice service providers responded to the Commission’s rulings and actions derived from the Call Blocking Declaratory Ruling, to provide information and results in connection with initiatives implemented by carriers, and whether consumers have seen a corresponding reduction in scam calls.
  • Impact on 911 Services and Public Safety: The agency is seeking data and other information on the impact that call blocking may have on 911 services and public safety. It asks whether legitimate calls to or from emergency numbers could be wrongfully blocked, and whether public safety entities experience unwanted or illegal calls that interfere with their mission.
  • Other Relevant Information: Finally, the Commission seeks any other information that may inform their analysis of the state of deployment of advanced methods and tools to eliminate illegal and unwanted calls.

Comments are due 30 days from the publication of the Public Notice in the Federal Register, which has not occurred yet, and Reply Comments are due 60 days after publication.