ACA and Industry Trade Groups Meet with FCC on Ongoing Call Blocking and Labeling Concerns


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The meeting focused on SIP codes voice service providers must use to notify callers when their calls are blocked and the deadline for providers to begin using these codes. Editor’s note: This article is available for members only.

11/1/2021 9:00

ACA International was among the joint industry trade groups that met with the Federal Communications Commission in October to retain voice service providers’ notification requirements in its Fourth Report and Order on Advance Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls.

During the meeting, the groups—including the Credit Union National Association, American Bankers Association, American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, American Financial Services Association, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, National Council of Higher Education Resources, and American Express—discussed USTelecom’s petition for reconsideration and recent ex parte communications regarding the requirement in the fourth report and order that voice service providers that block calls must notify callers of the block using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Codes 607 and 608 and, for Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) networks, Integrated Services Digital Network User Part Code 21 beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

USTelecom filed its petition in response to the FCC’s fourth report and order on Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls issued Dec. 30, 2020. The report and order required telephone companies that block calls and their analytics engines (collectively, voice service providers or providers) to use specific SIP codes to notify the caller that its call has been blocked on an Internet Protocol (IP) network and a specific ISUP code to notify the caller that its call has been blocked on a TDM network, ACA previously reported.

In addition to urging the FCC to retain notification mechanisms in the fourth report and order, the industry trade groups also would not oppose a limited six-month extension of the Jan. 1 deadline, provided that the commission receive status reports at reasonable intervals to track implementation progress.

This extension would provide voice service providers with a total of 18 months to implement the requirements in the fourth report and order. Extending the deadline for a maximum of six months will help alleviate concerns that providers may cease blocking unlawful calls because they cannot implement the commission’s notification requirement by the current deadline.

However, ACA and the industry trade groups continue to oppose elimination of the specific notification requirements required by the fourth report and order and their replacement with SIP Code 603, and urge the FCC to reject that request as contrary to the public interest.

Overall, the industry trade associations continue to support reasonable, pro-consumer outcomes in this proceeding and appreciate that USTelecom recognizes the vital importance of notifying callers immediately that their legitimate calls are being blocked by carriers. The associations encourage the FCC to ensure that carriers adopt SIP Codes 607 and 608 as required by its fourth report and order and that are consistent with the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act’s mandate that redress be effective and transparent.

Read a complete summary of the associations’ meeting with the FCC and more background here.

FCC Seeks Comments on STIR/SHAKEN

Meanwhile, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau is seeking comments on STIR/SHAKEN implementation extensions granted by the commission and associated burdens and barriers to the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN.

Comments are due on or before Nov. 12, and reply comments are due on or before Nov. 26, 2021.

To file comments on the FNPRM, ACA recommends using the FCC’s ECFS Express website and Docket No. 17-97, DA 21-1103.

Related Content from ACA International:

USTelecom Call Blocking and Labeling Working Group Issues Best Practices

If you would like to share any thoughts or feedback on this issue, contact ACA International’s Vice President and Senior Counsel, Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey at [email protected].

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