Describing “eliminating illegal robocalls that originate abroad … [as] one of the most vexing challenges we face in eliminating the scourge of robocalling,” the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted a proposal at its September 30, 2021 Open Meeting to help address the problem (https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-105A1.pdf ).

The Fifth Further Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) in the agency’s long-running CG Docket No. 17-59 seeks to attack the issue “by placing new obligations on the gateway providers that are the point of entry for foreign calls into the United States, requiring them to lend a hand in the fight against illegal robocalls originating abroad.”

Per the FCC’s News Release announcing the action, the FNPRM seeks comment on the following proposed requirements for domestic gateway providers (https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-376196A1.pdf).

  • Domestic gateway providers would be required to apply STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication to, and perform robocall mitigation on, all foreign-originated calls with U.S. numbers.
  • Gateway providers would be required to respond quickly (within 24 hours of receipt) to traceback requests, which are used to help block illegal robocalls and inform FCC enforcement investigations.
  • Gateway providers and the networks accepting questionable traffic from the gateway provider would be required to actively block these calls.
  • Gateway providers would be required to ensure foreign calls using U.S. phone numbers are legally authorized to do so.
  • Gateway providers would be required to submit a certification to the Robocall Mitigation Database describing and committing to robocall mitigation practices.

In her statement in conjunction with approval of the FNPRM, Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel noted: “This will help us tackle the growing number of international robocalls. Because we can’t have these scam artists multiplying abroad and hiding from our regulatory reach. We’re going to stop these nuisance calls before they reach our homes and businesses in the United States. And if the tools we have here are not up to task—we will need to go to Congress and ask for more.”

Initial comments on the FNPRM will be due 30 days after a summary is published in the Federal Register, with reply comments due no later than 60 days after such publication.



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