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FCC Denies Call Blocking Petition Seeking Delays for Voice Service Providers

ACA International and joint industry trade groups met with FCC staff recently to urge the commission to retain call blocking notification requirements in its rulemakings, leading to a successful outcome in the denial of USTelecom’s petition.

12/15/2021 4:00 P.M.

5 minute read

The Federal Communications Commission has denied a petition from USTelecom seeking flexibility on how and when they would notify callers—including those in the accounts receivable management industry—that their calls were blocked. ACA International secured language in the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act and in previous FCC orders requiring notification to callers when carriers were indiscriminately blocking calls using their analytics.

ACA was among joint industry trade groups that met with FCC staff in recent weeks to discuss the USTelecom petition and the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) codes that voice service providers use to notify callers that their calls are blocked.

The groups have consistently advocated for the FCC to retain voice service providers’ notification requirements in the Fourth Report and Order on Advance Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls.

During the Dec. 9 and 10 meetings with Commissioner Nathan Simington’s and FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s staff, respectively, the groups—including the Credit Union National Association, American Bankers Association, American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, Mortgage Bankers Association, American Financial Services Association, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, National Council of Higher Education Resources, and Student Loan Servicing Alliance—discussed the USTelecom petition and the requirement in the FCC’s Fourth Report and Order that voice service providers that block calls must use SIP Codes 607 and 608 and, for Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) networks, Integrated Services User Part (ISUP) Code 21 beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

To take a step back, SIP codes are programmed to inform callers with certain responses. In the case of a code starting with the number three, it signifies a redirection of the call in some form.

In addition to advocating for SIP Codes 607 and 608 in the meetings with the FCC, ACA and the joint industry trade groups also called for the commission to sunset the use of SIP Code 603, which only signals to the caller that the recipient declined the call, not that the call was subject to blocking by voice service providers.

However, in a Sixth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Waiver Order released Dec.

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