FCC Adopts Tougher Rules and Reporting Requirements for VoIP Providers, Tightens Phone Number Access to Combat Illegal Robocalls
In a move to further curb unwanted robocalls, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted stringent rules to enhance and modernize the requirements for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers seeking direct access to telephone numbers and seeks comments on their further expansion. The Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, aligned with the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act’s directives, aims to curtail the misuse of finite numbering resources and tackle the proliferation of illegal robocalls via VoIP technology.
View our previous client advisory analyzing the rule’s draft in more detail.
Key Highlights of the FCC’s Report and Order:
- Robocall Certifications: VoIP applicants must now make specific certifications to demonstrate their commitment to complying with FCC rules targeting illegal robocalls.
- Ownership Disclosure: Providers must disclose and maintain up-to-date ownership information, including foreign ownership details, to mitigate the risk of granting access to U.S. numbering resources to potentially malicious foreign entities.
- Compliance Certification: Applicants are required to certify their adherence to other FCC rules applicable to interconnected VoIP providers, encompassing public safety and access stimulation rules, as well as timely submission of FCC Forms 477 and 499 filings.
- State Law Compliance: VoIP providers must comply with state-specific laws and registration requirements in each state for which they request phone numbers.
Furthermore, the FCC has codified the processes for reviewing direct access applications, rejecting applications, and revoking authorizations. Additionally, the North American Numbering Council will conduct a comprehensive study on number utilization, resale, and reclamation, providing valuable insights for potential future FCC actions in alignment with public interest objectives.
The new regulations will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The FCC will additionally set deadlines for most of the certification requirements.
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
The FCC is soliciting input on proposals to further enhance its oversight of entities with phone number access, including those gaining access indirectly.
Among other matters, the FCC seeks comments on whether requiring VoIP providers that obtain telephone numbers indirectly should be required to make the same certifications, acknowledgments, and disclosures required in direct access applications. According to the proposed rules, VoIP providers obtaining telephone numbers indirectly would need to make such disclosures and certifications to their telephone number provider, who, in return, would report that information to the FCC upon request.
The comments will be due 30 days and reply comments will be due 60 days after the NPRM is published in Federal Register.
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
Michael Donahue — Tel: 703-714-1319 / E-mail: mpd@CommLawGroup.com
Rob Jackson – Tel: 703-714-1316 / E-mail: rhj@CommLawGroup.com
Ron Quirk – Tel: 703-714-1305 / E-mail: req@CommLawGroup.com
Diana Bikbaeva – Tel: 703 663-6757 / E-mail: dab@CommLawGroup.com