FCC Releases Robocall Order on Reconsideration, Sixth FNPRM, and Waiver Order

On December 14, 2021, the FCC released an Order on Reconsideration, Sixth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Waiver Order in the Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Robocalls matter.  The Order addresses USTelecom’s Petition for Reconsideration and Request for Clarification and reconsiders several provisions of the Fourth Report and Order seeks comment on transitioning fully to SIP Codes 607 and 608, and waives provisions of subsection 64.1200(k)(9)(i), thereby allowing providers to implement the reconsidered provisions prior to the effective date of the Order.

Order on Reconsideration

In the Order on Reconsideration, the FCC grants in part and denies in part USTelecom’s Petition.  First, the Order grants USTelecom’s request that voice service providers operating IP networks be permitted to use SIP Code 603 to meet the immediate notification requirement beginning on January 1, 2022.  Terminating voice service providers will be permitted to utilize SIP Code 603 as an alternative to SIP Codes 607 and 608 to notify callers that their calls have been blocked.  The FCC understands that many providers require additional time to implement Codes 607 and 608, while Code 603 is already in use.  The FCC thus found good cause to allow providers to continue to use Code 603 while transitioning to Codes 607 and 608.  The Order denies USTelecom’s request to grant providers general flexibility in making the notification, however, so as to ensure that callers receive uniform notification that their call has been blocked.

Second, the Order clarifies two provisions of the Fourth Report and Order:

  1. Immediate notification to callers that their call has been blocked is necessary only for calls blocked pursuant to any analytics program.  The service provider must comply with the immediate notification requirement whenever it blocks a call based on analytics, regardless of whether blocking is done with consumer opt in or opt out, or at the network level without consumer consent.  Providers are not required to send notification for calls blocked because they are on a Do-Not-Originate list, in response to a telephone denial of service attack, or where the consumer has initiated the blocking.
  2. The requirement that a terminating voice service provider that blocks calls on an opt-in or opt-out basis must provide, upon request, a list of calls intended for the subscribers number that the provider or its designee has blocked applies only to blocking performed pursuant to an opt-in or opt-out analytics program, not due to subscriber initiated features like white lists, black lists, do not disturb, call rejection, and line-level blocking.  This requirement also does not apply to network-based blocking performed pursuant to the Fourth Report and Order.

Finally, the Order denies USTelecom’s request to confirm that originating voice service providers can determine with their enterprise customers how those customers will be notified that their call has been blocked by downstream providers and that notifications to enterprise customer are not covered by the FCC’s notification requirement.  The originating voice service provider must transmit the appropriate response code to the caller, regardless of if they are an enterprise caller.

Sixth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”)

In the FNPRM, the FCC seeks comment on whether to transition fully away from SIP Code 603 to use only SIP Codes 607 or 608 in their IP networks.  The FCC believes that SIP Codes 607 and 608 provide important information that enables callers to contact blocking entities and initiate the redress process that is not contained in SIP Code 603.  The FCC thus seeks comment on whether they should transition fully away from SIP Code 603 for immediate notification and toward full implementation of SIP Codes 607 and 608, how this transition should be accomplished, and what timeline should be implemented if it adopts this strategy.

Waiver Order

The FCC recognized that the effective date of the Order on Reconsideration would likely be after the January 1, 2022 implementation deadline for providing immediate notice that a call had been blocked.  The waiver grants voice service providers terminating a call on an IP network permission to use SIP Code 603, along with 607 and 608, from January 1, 2022 until the effective date of the Order on Reconsideration.

For additional information please see previous blog post FCC Releases Unlawful Robocalls Report and Order.

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