For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, July 10, 2018 — The American Cable Association — commenting on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposals to establish a reassigned numbers database that robocallers could use to verify their call lists and reduce unwanted calls to reassigned numbers – urged the FCC to adopt a voluntary, market-driven approach to reducing the number of unwanted robocalls to reassigned numbers.
Noting that the record in the proceeding presents two competing visions for how to solve the problem of unwanted robocalls to reassigned numbers, ACA explained in reply comments filed July 9 that adopting a safe harbor for callers who use a qualified commercial data aggregator to verify their call lists will be more cost efficient than a government-run database, and at least as accurate, if not more so.
“This issue here is whether the FCC should rely upon private companies to build and manage a reassigned numbers database, or whether the government should take on the task itself. Our view is that private actors operating in a competitive market are always the superior option, unless there’s clear evidence that the marketplace can’t solve the problem on its own. There’s already a competitive market to help callers avoid Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) liability, and so there’s no reason for a government takeover. With the adoption of a safe harbor for commercial actors who meet certain minimum standards for their databases, the competitive market works even better at addressing the needs of callers and consumers,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
Under the market-driven approach, which is supported by a number of industry participants who understand the challenges of creating and administering a reassigned numbers database, a competitive marketplace would provide voice service providers with adequate incentive to provide their numbering information to commercial data aggregators, eliminating the need for any costly reporting mandates. The alternative vision would impose significant costs on service providers, who would be required to report information on reassigned numbers to a centralized, government-run database.
ACA explained that by adopting a safe harbor for callers who use a qualified commercial data aggregator, the FCC can spur competition for number verification services, and that this competition will lead to solutions that are more cost-effective and at least as accurate as any government-run database.
If the FCC rejects this voluntary, competitive approach to reducing unwanted robocalls to reassigned numbers, ACA urged the FCC to exempt small voice service providers from any reporting requirements, and to take additional steps to reduce reporting costs for all service providers.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 800 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: http://www.americancable.org/