FCC Seeks Comments on Requirements for Reassigned Numbers Database Administrator


The comments due to the Wireline Competition Bureau and Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Feb. 24 are to help define the performance of the database administrator in the U.S.

2/13/2020 10:30

Technical requirements to shape the performance of the Federal Communications Commission’s Reassigned Numbers Database in the U.S.—which should enable callers to verify whether a telephone number for a consumer has been reassigned—are the subject of public comments due Feb. 24.

The creation of a reassigned numbers database is one of many efforts of the FCC to mitigate illegal robocalls through its Second Report and Order on Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls released in December 2018. In the order, the commission addressed the problem of unwanted calls to consumers with numbers reassigned from a previous consumer, according to a news release from the FCC.

The FCC’s rule to establish a comprehensive reassigned numbers database is in effect, although the official compliance date is pending.

The FCC must select a third-party contractor to serve as the Reassigned Numbers Database Administrator (RNDA) and approve technical requirements that are the subject of the public request for comment open now.

“Specifically, the commission established a single, comprehensive database that will contain reassigned number information from each provider that obtains North American Numbering Plan U.S. geographic numbers and toll-free numbers. The database will enable a caller to determine whether a telephone number has been reassigned and thus avoid calling consumers with reassigned numbers who may not wish to receive their call,” the FCC’s news release states.

The FCC, by a unanimous vote in December 2018, decided to take additional steps to create the database designed to enable callers to verify the status of a phone number and help protect consumers with reassigned numbers from receiving unwanted calls, ACA International previously reported.

Some technical requirements for the RNDA, according to the request for comment from the Wireline Competition Bureau and the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, include:

  • Manage the reassigned numbers database data and access to the database. The RNDA shall ensure the database is sufficiently robust to manage high quantities of simultaneous use and has the general functionality to meet database clients’ needs in an efficient, effective, fair, unbiased, and non-discriminatory manner consistent with FCC regulations and industry-developed guidelines
  • User administration. The RNDA will authorize access to the database only to users/user agents who agree in writing that the users/user agents will use the database solely to determine whether a number has been permanently disconnected since a date provided by the caller for the purpose of making lawful calls or sending lawful texts.
  • The RNDA shall be responsible for billing authorized users/user agents for queries of the database and collecting the appropriate payments from those users/user agents for such queries. In accordance with the Second Report and Order FCC 18-177, and with final requirements when so determined, billing capabilities shall include both recurring and non-recurring elements, as well as query- or usage-based components.

Once the technical requirements are approved, the RNDA will be required to review and update the document semiannually and upon the implementation of any change order and provide the updated document to the FCC or its designee.

In general, the approved order includes the following steps for the reassigned numbers database, ACA previously reported:

  • Establish a single, comprehensive reassigned numbers database that will enable callers to verify whether a telephone number has been permanently disconnected, and is therefore eligible for reassignment, before calling that number
  • A minimum aging period of 45 days before permanently disconnected telephone numbers can be reassigned.
  • Voice providers that receive North American Numbering Plan numbers and the Toll-Free Numbering Administrator would report on a monthly basis information regarding permanently disconnected numbers to the database.
  • Select an independent third-party administrator, using a competitive bidding process, to manage the reassigned numbers database.

After the initial comment deadline on the reassigned numbers database technical comments closes Feb. 24, reply comments are due March 9. View the FCC’s news release for instructions on filing comments.

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