The FCC is getting serious about fighting robocalls, requiring other carriers to block calls from non-compliant ones.
The FCC required carriers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN protocol, providing a way for carriers to verify the origin of a call before passing it on to another carrier or to the call recipient. While the top three US carriers fully implemented the protocol some time ago, a number of small carriers have failed to do.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel made clear that the repercussions would be severe:
“This is a new era. If a provider doesn’t meet its obligations under the law, it now faces expulsion from America’s phone networks. Fines alone aren’t enough. Providers that don’t follow our rules and make it easy to scam consumers will now face swift consequences.”
The agency has given Akabis, Cloud4, Global UC, Horizon Technology Group, Morse Communications, Sharon Telephone Company, and SW Arkansas Telecommunications and Technology 14 days to explain why they should not be removed from the Robocall Mitigation Database. Any carrier removed from the database will be blacklisted by other carriers, with no other carrier allowed to relay its calls.
“These and other recent actions reflect the seriousness with which we take providers’ obligations to take concrete and impactful steps to combat robocalls,” said Loyaan A. Egal, acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. “STIR/SHAKEN is not optional. And if your network isn’t IP-based so you cannot yet use these standards, we need to see the steps taken to mitigate illegal robocalls. These providers have fallen woefully short and have now put at risk their continued participation in the U.S. communications system. While we’ll review their responses, we will not accept superficial gestures given the gravity of what is at stake.”