Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler recently sent out a letter to the CEOs of major telecommunications companies urging them to take action in making robocall blocking technology available to customers.
Robocalls are automated telephone calls that are often used by scammers and telemarketers. The FCC has ruled that service providers are allowed to offer robocall blockers to consumers, but the companies have incorrectly stated that they do not have the authority to do so.
Wheeler's letter is followed by the question on whether telecommunications companies will finally make efforts in addressing the robocall complaints that are still being received by the FCC, despite various regulations in place that prohibit the practice.
AT&T is apparently the first company to answer Wheeler's call, with the carrier claiming that it is prepared to take the leadership role within the telecommunications industry to develop solutions for the persistent problem.
In a blog post by the carrier, it revealed that CEO Randall Stephenson has agreed to lead a Robocalling Strike Force that will look to hasten the creation and implementation of solutions and tools that will be used in the fight against robocalls. In addition, the strike force will be sending recommendations to the FCC on what the government can do to help in the fight.
The Consumerist pointed out the fact that Stephenson once made the erroneous statement that the FCC prevented AT&T from addressing the robocalling issue. However, his involvement in the Robocalling Strike Force shows that the CEO has changed his stance on the matter, and is ready to finally tackle the problems that has plagued consumers for years.
In addition to the robocalling issue, the letter that Wheeler wrote also includes a push for the industry to create a "Do Not Originate" list, which will block robocalls before they reach users. The list will contain the numbers of entities, including private companies and government agencies, whose telephone numbers are frequently being used by robocalls that often originate from overseas. Telecommunications companies who see calls coming from these numbers but originating from outside the United States can then block the highly likely robocall right away.
The Robocalling Strike Force will also be working together with standards bodies and players in the industry to populate this "Do Not Originate" list, which will further improve the measures against robocalls. With such a list, agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service would be able to make calls, but scammers from other countries pretending to be from the IRS would not be able to get their calls through.