Analysis Finds Increasing Availability of Blocking Resources for Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Federal Communications Commission today released the second of two annual reports on robocall blocking: “Call Blocking Tools Available to Consumers.” Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel welcomed the progress made on the availability of these consumer resources while also calling on industry to redouble efforts to ensure effective services are available at no cost to consumers.

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“I’m encouraged to see the increasing availability of robocall blocking tools for consumers,” said Rosenworcel. “Stopping robocall scammers from bombarding consumers and businesses takes a whole-of-network approach. Call blocking consumer tools are a critical part of this approach – along with STIR/SHAKEN implementation, network-level blocking, and ensuring gateway providers don’t let illegal robocall campaigns onto our networks. That said, we have to put consumers first, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to get these junk calls off our networks. I will continue to push industry under the law to make these tools free and easily available to the public.”

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The report, produced by the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, found that many voice service providers and third-party analytics companies today offer improved call blocking and labeling services to their customers and use new data to continually update their analyses to detect robocalls. Providers report that they are offering consumers more blocking tools and blocking more calls than ever before, but that not all consumers have opted into many of the call blocking technologies offered by providers. Voice service providers and analytics companies report few false positives (calls incorrectly identified as being spam or fraudulent, and then being blocked in error). FCC consumer information on call blocking tools and resources is available at: https://www.fcc.gov/call-blocking.

The report was also clear that, despite some progress in the availability of blocking tools, robocalls remain a substantial consumer problem. The report notes that “the Commission has taken a multi-pronged approach that includes aggressive enforcement, consumer education, and creating an effective regulatory environment that enables and encourages phone companies and others to proactively stop unwanted robocalls from ever reaching customers. Going forward, the Commission will build on this foundation and continue to use every tool at its disposal to combat and prevent illegal robocalls.”

Voice service providers also report progress in deploying STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication on the IP portions of their networks. Among other benefits, the STIR/SHAKEN standards being implemented across networks plays a vital role in informing call blocking tools and improving their accuracy. Widespread STIR/SHAKEN implementation is required by the FCC by July 1, 2021. More information on caller ID authentication is available at: https://www.fcc.gov/call-authentication.

The report, “Call Blocking Tools Available to Consumers: Second Report on Call Blocking,” is available at: https://www.fcc.gov/document/second-call-blocking-report-blocking-available-consumers.

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