FCC’s Report & Order Imposing New Sweeping Robocall Mitigation Requirements on Voice Service Providers is Published in the Federal Register; Most Filing Deadlines will Soon be Set; Severe Sanctions Will be Levied on Violators
As delineated in a previous client advisory, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) recently released a Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Order” and “NPRM”) which imposes new robocall mitigation rules on all voice service providers (“VSPs”) operating in the U.S., including VSPs that were previously exempt from the Commission’s STIR/SHAKEN rules, as well as VSPs that are already STIR/SHAKEN compliant. A summary of the Order was published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2023. The Federal Register summary states that most of the filing deadlines (except the STIR/SHAKEN deadline for intermediate carriers) will soon be announced, pending approval by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”). We will release another client advisory once the deadlines are released.
Although the filing deadlines are still pending, VSPs are well advised to begin preparing the necessary documentation soon. The FCC has very specific requirements for the new filings and any filing considered “deficient” will be rejected by the FCC, a very short cure period will be given, followed by an enforcement action if the requirements are not met.
Our prior client advisory provided a high-level overview of the FCC’s new requirements. For ease of reference, those obligations are briefly listed below. Because the new rules contain many details that are beyond the scope of both client alerts, it is critical that all VSPs fully understand and comply with all the rules’ requirements. The attorneys on our firm’s Robocall Mitigation Response Team will be glad to assist with all compliance steps and advise on the most efficient means to achieve them.
The Order’s Key Provisions
- Requires the first intermediate provider in a call chain that receives unauthenticated Session Initiation Protocol (“SIP”) calls directly from originating providers to authenticate those calls using STIR/SHAKEN. Compliance Deadline: December 31, 2023.
- Requires all VSPs, regardless of their STIR/SHAKEN implementation status, to take “reasonable steps” to mitigate illegal robocall traffic and submit a robocall mitigation plan to the Commission’s Robocall Mitigation Database.
- Requires all providers to submit additional information with their certifications to the Commission’s Robocall Mitigation Database, including details on their role in the call chain, STIR/SHAKEN implementation obligations, and any recent formal law enforcement or regulatory investigation into suspected unlawful robocalling.
- Prohibits downstream providers from accepting traffic from intermediate providers not listed in the Commission’s Robocall Mitigation Database.
- Grants an ongoing STIR/SHAKEN implementation extension for satellite providers that are small service providers using North American Numbering Plan numbers to originate calls.
The FCC also establishes new enforcement tools to hold illegal robocallers accountable for violations of its rules, including additional penalties for noncompliance and an expedited removal procedure for facially deficient Robocall Mitigation Database filings. The maximum forfeiture amount for each violation of the mandatory blocking requirements of $23,727 per call, with a base forfeiture amount of $2,500 per call.
NEED HELP WITH ROBOCALL MITIGATION, COMPLIANCE AND LITIGATION?
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