Opt-Out Offerings Of Robocall Blocking Will Help Combat FCC’s Top Consumer Complaint
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, September 26, 2018 – The American Cable Association wants the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that voice providers are empowered to protect their customers from annoying and harmful robocalls. To that end, the agency should affirm that providers have flexibility to offer robocall-blocking tools to their customers through an informed opt-out process.
“The FCC has taken many constructive steps to address the robocalls problem, which generates the highest volume of complaints the FCC receives. ACA encourages the FCC to build on these efforts by affirming voice providers’ ability to deploy consumer-friendly robocall-blocking tools broadly to their customers,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
ACA’s recommendation was highlighted in comments filed on Monday in response to an FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Public Notice seeking “to refresh the record on how the FCC might further empower voice service providers to block illegal calls before they reach American consumers.”
ACA noted the existence of many commercially available technologies that block unwanted robocalls and are popular among those customers that have opted in to use them. But relatively few customers have done so, even though the FCC receives more than 200,000 robocall complaints each year. The expectation that few customers will use the robocall blocking tools made available to them has deterred some providers from investing the resources to make such technologies available to customers for free as part of their own offerings.
“The FCC has made clear that providers can offer these robocall blocking technologies on an opt-in basis. By expressly affirming that opt-out approaches are also permissible, the FCC would spur more providers to widely deploy tools that provide real relief to consumers from the frustrations of robocalls,” Polka said.
Under an opt-in model, a provider would need to bear extensive marketing and advertising costs to achieve just a modest take rate. The shift to an opt-out model would give providers confidence that their investments in robocall blocking technologies will have a broader customer impact, making it easier to justify the expense.
ACA also explained how an opt-out model for robocall blocking can protect customers from unwanted robocalls, allow them to make informed choices, and honor those choices. Providers deploying robocall-blocking technologies on an opt-out basis should be expected to give disclosures that enable their customers to understand what the technology does and make clear how to opt out. ACA further explained that providers have strong incentives to provide robocall blocking their customers want, but should still perform due diligence to ensure that the tools they use to block robocalls for their customers on an opt-out basis work effectively.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 700 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: https://www.americancable.org/