Last month, Troutman Sanders reported on the proposed TRACED Act which would instruct the Federal Communications Commission to engage in rulemaking to protect consumers from receiving unwanted calls and text messages from unauthenticated phone numbers. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tweeted his approval for the bill, but the FCC is not waiting on Congress to fight robocalls. On November 21, it released its final report and order on creating a reassigned numbers database.
According to the FCC’s press release, the final draft of the report and order would create a comprehensive database to enable callers to verify whether a telephone number has been permanently disconnected, and is therefore eligible for reassignment, before calling that number, thereby helping to protect consumers with reassigned numbers from receiving unwanted robocalls.
More specifically, this proposal changes the existing federal regulatory scheme by:
- Establishing a single, comprehensive reassigned numbers database that will enable callers to verify whether a telephone number has been permanently disconnected, and is therefore eligible for reassignment, before calling that number;
- Establishing a minimum aging period of 45 days before permanently disconnected telephone numbers can be reassigned;
- Requiring that voice providers that receive North American Numbering Plan numbers and the Toll Free Numbering Administrator report on a monthly basis information regarding permanently disconnected numbers; and
- Selecting an independent third-party administrator, using a competitive bidding process, to manage the reassigned numbers database.
Pai announced the items tentatively included on the agenda for the December Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 12. Considering that robocalls are the number one basis of complaints filed with the FCC and the speed in which the issue has been addressed, it will come as no surprise if the proposal is passed at the meeting.
Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor this and related FCC’s rulemaking decisions.