FCC Rules Aimed at Cracking Down on Foreign-Originated Robocalls to Take Effect December 20; Includes Foreign Ownership Disclosure Rules Applicable to VoIP Providers
Big changes to the FCC’s Foreign Ownership Disclosure Rules for VoIP Providers have been looming. After many months of consideration and comments, the FCC’s finalized rules to Curb Illegal Robocalls by Regulating VoIP Providers’ Access to Phone Numbers are now set to go into effect on December 20, 2023. With those rules come substantial changes to foreign ownership disclosure requirements for VoIP providers.
Background: The regulatory amendments stem from the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which mandated the FCC to modify its rules concerning direct access to numbering resources by providers of interconnected VoIP services. The changes aim to enhance compliance with FCC rules targeting illegal robocalls and to address concerns related to foreign ownership. The CommLaw Group has previously advised on the broad provisions of this rule.
Changes to Foreign Ownership Disclosure Rules: The FCC has introduced several new foreign ownership disclosure compliance rules, specifically impacting Interconnected VoIP Applicants for Direct Access Authorization:
- Detailed Disclosures. Applicants must provide detailed information about any person or entity that directly or indirectly owns at least ten percent of their equity, including citizenship, address, and principal businesses. They must also identify any interlocking directorates with a foreign carrier. This applies to both private and public companies.
- Streamlined Processing Cycle: Entities with 10% or more foreign ownership will be removed from the streamlined processing cycle, formalizing the practice.
- Ownership Updates: Interconnected VoIP providers must now submit ownership updates within 30 days of any changes. The current filing procedure involves the ECFS Direct Access intake docket (Inbox 52.15) and email to DAA@fcc.gov.
For a more in-depth understanding of these changes, we recommend reviewing paragraphs 21-33 of the FCC’s Report and Order.
Implications for Your Company: Given the significance of these regulatory updates, we strongly advise conducting a thorough review of your current practices to ensure alignment with the new requirements. Failure to comply with these rules may result in regulatory repercussions, impacting your ability to access numbering resources and potentially subjecting your company to penalties.
- Internal Review: Assess your current practices against the new FCC requirements.
- Compliance Measures: Implement any necessary changes to ensure compliance, especially when contemplating changes to ownership.
- Timely Updates: Establish procedures to provide ownership updates within the required 30-day period.
- Communication: Keep stakeholders informed of these changes and their implications.
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