The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) has reevaluated “undue hardship” extensions to full STIR/SHAKEN implementation, as required by the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.
TRACED Act Requires Reevaluation and Potential Revision of Undue Hardship Extensions
The TRACED Act requires the FCC, at least annually, to reevaluate and potentially revise any undue hardship extension previously granted and issue a public notice explaining (1) why such extension remains necessary and (2) when the FCC expects full STIR/SHAKEN participation.
In September 2020, the FCC granted three extensions, which were the subject of this notice:
- Small voice service providers (VSPs), with 100,000 or fewer subscriber lines, through June 30, 2023;
- VSPs unable to obtain the “token” necessary to participate in STIR/SHAKEN until they were able to obtain “token access;” and
- Services scheduled for section 214 discontinuance for a limited period of time.
FCC Has Already Shortened the Deadline for Non-Facilities-Based VSPs
Prior to this notice, the FCC shortened the extension for certain non-facilities-based small VSPs, reasoning they were likely to be the source of robocalls, to June 30, 2022. Impacted small VSPs should contact us as soon as possible to discuss their options to ensure they are compliant and their traffic is not blocked.
FCC Declines to Extend or Modify Existing Extension Deadlines
Following a public notice seeking comment on these three extensions on September 3, 2021, the FCC decided to:
- Small VSPs – No extension to unmodified remaining extension. The FCC stated it “will not postpone the date by which Americans benefit from ubiquitous STIR/SHAKEN implementation on an asserted likelihood that burdens continue a year from now.”
- VSPs Unable to Obtain SPC Tokens – Despite finding this extension is necessary, the FCC declined to revise the extension for VSPs “incapable of obtaining a SPC token due to Governance Authority policy an extension until they are capable of obtaining said token.” However, the FCC noted that the Governance Authority’s revised policy “resolved the main practical concern underlying this extension.”
- Services Scheduled for Section 214 Discontinuance – Despite also finding this extension is necessary, the FCC again declined to revise or continue the extension, which allows impacted VSPs until June 30, 2022 to either discontinue service or implement STIR/SHAKEN.
Finally, the WCB declined to address other topics, including those tangentially related to the public notice, raised in comments.
Expanded Robocall Ecosystem Continues to Evolve as Each Enforcing Party Adopts to Changes
As the ecosystem surrounding robocalls continues to grow and develop, VSPs must be aware of FCC regulatory changes, such as this significant change to the timeline for certain small VSPs to implement STIR/SHAKEN, and enforcement actions. Because non-facilities-based small VSPs now only have six months to implement STIR/SHAKEN, impacts VSPs should contact us today for assistance to ensure they remain compliant.
NEED HELP WITH ROBOCALL MITIGATION, COMPLIANCE AND LITIGATION SUPPORT/DEFENSE AGAINST BUSINESS & LEGAL CHALLENGES?
The CommLaw Group Can Help!
Given the complexity and evolving nature of the FCC’s rules, regulations and industry policies & procedures around Robocall Mitigation and Compliance issues (e.g., Stir/Shaken, TRACED Act, FCC Rules & Regulations, US Telecom Industry group, ATIS, NECA, VoIP Numbering Waivers, Know Your Customer and the private sector ecosystem), as well as the increased risk of business disputes, consumer protection enforcement by state attorneys general, and even civil litigation, and anticipating the potential torrent of client questions and concerns, The CommLaw Group formed a “Robocall Mitigation Response Team” to help clients (old and new) tackle their unique responsibilities.
CONTACT US NOW, WE ARE STANDING BY TO GUIDE YOUR COMPANY’S COMPLIANCE EFFORTS