April 23rd, 2021

FCC Clamps Down on Carriers with New Robocall Mitigation Database

It's clear the FCC's stance under the new administration has not changed. If anything, their April 20 public notice announcing the launch of their Robocall Mitigation Database shows the organization has further fortified efforts to protect consumers from illegal robocalls and spoofed calls.

Under the authority granted by the TRACED Act, the FCC previously mandated that providers with IP-based phone networks implement the STIR/SHAKEN framework by June 30, 2021. They also required carriers with non-IP networks to upgrade to IP and implement STIR/SHAKEN, or develop a non-IP caller ID authentication solution. Providers that received an extension to comply with STIR/SHAKEN had to adopt robocall mitigation programs.

Now, the FCC has taken a step further, mandating that CSPs file certifications about what they’re doing to stop illegal robocalls from originating on their networks in the new database by June 30, 2021. Even carriers that were granted an extension to STIR/SHAKEN call authentication implementation deadline must provide detailed information about measures they are taking to ensure they are not the source of illegal robocalls.

The consequences of non-compliance are dire. Beginning September 28, 2021, intermediate and terminating CSPs must block calls from service providers that are not listed in the database. The result? Some subscribers will be unable to complete calls when the recipient is not on the same name network.

“Protecting consumers from scammers that use robocall and spoofing tools is a top priority,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “To succeed, we not only need an all hands-on-deck response from government, but we need industry commitment and focus. Our message to providers is clear: certify under penalty of perjury the steps you are taking to stop illegal robocalls, or we will block your calls.”

CSPs still have time to achieve compliance by leveraging solutions and tools that help validated Caller ID and enables digital signatures, and those that provide robocall mitigation solutions. Visit our Trusted Call Resource Center to learn more.

Digging into the details.
To be included in the database, CSPs must certify that their traffic is either fully, partially, or not yet signed with STIR/SHAKEN, and/or that they have a robocall mitigation program in place that prevents illegal robocalls from originating from their network.

According to the FCC, a robocall mitigation program will suffice if the detailed the CSP submits can “reasonably be expected to significantly reduce the origination of illegal robocalls” and if the CSP complies with the practices it describes in its filings. However, the FCC would consider a mitigation program to be insufficient if a provider “knowingly or through negligence serves as the originator for unlawful robocall campaigns.”

Those CSPs that certify that some, or all, of the calls they originate are subject to a robocall mitigation program must submit additional information with their certifications, including:

  • The type of extension or extensions received under section 64.6304 of the FCC’s rules
  • Specific reasonable steps taken under a program to avoid originating illegal robocalls
  • A commitment to respond to traceback requests and cooperate with investigating and stopping illegal robocalls

Deadline June 30, 2021: how to file.
If you have not yet taken action, here’s a list of FCC sites to get you started.

  • The Robocall Mitigation Database is publicly available here.
  • Submit certifications, identification information, and contact information here.
  • Instructions for submissions are here.
  • A list of service providers that have submitted certifications can be downloaded here.

More to come on robocalls.
This isn’t the first or last we’ll be hearing about robocalls from the FCC. On April 13, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau wrote to major phone companies and issued a Public Notice, asking what free robocall blocking tools providers make available to consumers.

In addition, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued two cease-and-desist letters to carriers suspected of facilitating robocalls. Acting Chairman, Rosenworcel also launched a new effort to track the FCC’s activities related to implementing the TRACED Act.

Neustar’s portfolio was created for carriers to help meet the FCC’s deadlines, put an end to illegal robocalls and restore trust to the phone. Neustar's Certified Caller, which is compliant with STIR/SHAKEN, validates Caller ID, enables digital signatures, and detects and warns of call spoofing. Our Robocall Mitigation Solution works in conjunction with STIR/SHAKEN to identify the unauthorized and suspicious use of phone numbers, and detect trends and anomalies in calling patterns.

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