FCC acts against 20 telecommunications carriers for alleged robocall mitigation failures, aiming to curtail illegal robocalls.
Yesterday, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Robocall Response Team announced new Enforcement Orders that will effectively shut down 20 telecommunications carriers by removing them from the Robocall Mitigation Database (RMD), based on the carriers’ alleged failure to implement an effective robocall mitigation program.
In 2022, acting under the authority of the TRACED Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules requiring gateway telecommunications service providers to implement STIR/SHAKENfor foreign-originated calls made to U.S. numbers and also required them to implement a robocall mitigation program, regardless of whether they had implemented STIR/SHAKEN on their networks.
As part of this requirement, all gateway and other voice service providers are required to file certifications with the FCC stating whether their traffic is authenticated with STIR/SHAKEN and to detail the specific reasonable steps they have taken to avoid carrying or processing illegal robocall traffic as part of their mitigation programs. All gateway providers must submit certifications to the Robocall Mitigation Database (RMD) that include adequate robocall mitigation plans.
Any company that fails to demonstrate that it has met those requirements can be removed from the RMD. When that happens, other providers will no longer take their traffic, which will effectively shut down the carrier as a going concern, which may happen as a result of the FCC Enforcement Bureau’s actions.
The Enforcement Bureau’s Orders require the following 20 non-compliant companies to demonstrate why the FCC should not remove them from the RMD within 14 days:
The FCC’s action underscores how serious the agency is in its stated mission of eradicating illegal robocalls. According to the FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan Egal, “Compliance with these rules is fundamental to ensuring U.S. telecommunications networks are unfriendly places for scam robocallers. Companies must actively engage in this consumer protection. Ignoring these requirements – or, far worse, supporting illegal callers and scam texters – comes with serious consequences.”
It remains to be seen whether any of the affected carriers will be able to satisfy the FCC’s requirements within the 14 days they have in which to respond to the Order. Failure to do so will result in the carriers’ removal from the RMD, which would be tantamount to a death sentence for the carrier, as it would require all intermediate and terminating voice service providers to cease accepting the banned carrier’s traffic by blocking all of its calls.