Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC Demands Three More Companies Immediately Stop Facilitating Illegal Robocall Campaigns, Senators Urge FCC to Address Further National Security Risks, Ten-Digit Dialing Beginning October 24
FCC Demands Three More Companies Immediately stop Facilitating Illegal Robocall Campaigns
FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the latest FCC action to combat illegal robocalls and spoofing campaigns that target consumers. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau sent cease-and-desist letters to three network providers—Duratel, Primo Dialler, and PZ/Illum Telecommunication—demanding that these providers immediately cease originating illegal robocall campaigns on their networks, many of which originated overseas, and report to the Commission the concrete steps they are implementing to prevent a recurrence of these operations.
“We announced the formation of the agency’s Robocall Response Team with a clear message: bad actors beware,” said Rosenworcel. “These cease-and-desist letters should serve as a
warning sign to other entities that believe the FCC has turned a blind eye to this issue. We haven’t. Our latest action makes it clear to companies like these that we will intervene when necessary to protect American consumers. The FCC is putting its full force behind stopping these junk calls.”
Senators Urge FCC to Address Further National Security Risks
Five United States senators submitted a letter to acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel yesterday urging action to address the national security risks posed by foreign companies that manage and service wireless phone networks. The letter, signed by senators Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), Ed Markey (D., Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), indicated that “It is a widespread practice in the wireless industry, particularly among small rural carriers, to outsource the installation and ongoing administration of networking technology to managed service providers, some of which are based in foreign countries. Many of these foreign service providers are subject to foreign surveillance laws, and as such, could be forced to abuse their access to U.S. networks to help foreign intelligence services spy on American subscribers. In addition to the threat of compelled surveillance assistance, we are also concerned by media reports suggesting that managed service providers may be partnering with for-profit surveillance companies, creating the possibility that these companies could provide their authoritarian clients with trusted access to U.S. telecommunications networks.” The senators further wrote that “There are currently no registration requirements for foreign managed service providers, meaning that no federal agency has data identifying which foreign firms are providing this sensitive function for U.S. wireless carriers. We urge the FCC to require wireless carriers to report their use of foreign managed service providers.”
Ten-Digit Dialing Beginning October 24
In 2020, the FCC established “988” as the new, nationwide three-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The new three-digit dialing code will be available nationwide by July 16, 2022. To help facilitate the creation of “988”, area codes that use “988” as a local exchange, or the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number, will need to use 10-digit dialing.
There are 82 area codes in 35 states and one U.S. territory that currently use “988” as their local exchange and allow seven-digit dialing. A local exchange is the first three numbers of a seven-digit telephone number. To prepare for implementation of using only “988” to connect callers to the Lifeline, these area codes must transition to ten-digit dialing for all calls, including local calls. Beginning on October 24, 2021, callers in these areas must dial ten digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.