FCC’s Robocall Mitigation Plan Filing Deadline Still Pending
As delineated in a previous Client Advisory, several months ago the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) released a Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Order” and “NPRM”) imposing stringent new robocall mitigation rules on all voice service providers (“VSPs”) operating in the U.S. One of the key provisions of the Order is the imposition of a new robocall mitigation plan (“RMP”) filing obligation.
While the Order was released back in March 2023, as of this writing the FCC still has not published the RMP filing deadline in the Federal Register. Once the deadline is published VSPs will have 30 days to complete their new filings. According to reliable Commission officials, the portion of the Order containing the RMP deadline is still being reviewed by the FCC’s Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”). OMB approval is necessary before publication in the Federal Register is permitted.
It is critical that all VSPs comply with the new robocall mitigation rules, as the FCC is very strict about enforcing all its robocall and STIR/SHAKEN rules. For ease of reference, a summary of the new rules and consequences for ignoring them is provided below.
Under the new rules, all VSPs, including: (a) intermediate providers, (b) those without the facilities necessary to implement STIR/SHAKEN, and (c) carriers that are already STIR/SHAKEN compliant, will be required to comply with the following:
- must take “reasonable steps” to mitigate illegal robocall traffic;
- submit a certification to the FCC’s Robocall Mitigation Database; and
- submit a robocall mitigation plan.
Robocall Mitigation Steps
The “reasonable steps” requirement is the same as the general mitigation standard that is currently applied to gateway providers and VSPs that have not fully implemented STIR/SHAKEN under the Commission’s rules.
Robocall Mitigation Certification
Each VSP obligated to submit a certification to the Robocall Mitigation Database must submit detailed information regarding the company, its policies and practices, its role in the “food chain,” and other specific information set forth in the proposed new rules. The certification must be signed by an officer of the company under penalty of perjury.
Robocall Mitigation Plans
All VSPs’ robocall mitigation plans must describe all “reasonable steps” taken by the company to comply with the regulations, including the specific steps a VSP is taking to mitigate illegal robocalls, “know your customer” and “know your upstream provider” procedures, and a description of any call analytics system used to identify and block illegal traffic, including whether a third-party vendor is used and the name of the vendor.
OCN Submission Requirements
Finally, the FCC requires that all VSPs submit their operating company code (“OCN”) in their certifications if they have one.
Downstream Providers’ Call Blocking Requirements
Under the new rules, downstream providers will be prohibited from accepting any traffic from a non-gateway intermediate provider not listed in the Robocall Mitigation Database.
Robocall Mitigation Enforcement
The FCC has authorized a maximum forfeiture amount for each violation of the mandatory blocking requirements of $23,727 per call. The base forfeiture amount will be $2,500 per call.
Removal from Robocall Mitigation Database
If the FCC determines that a VSP has submitted a deficient certification and/or robocall mitigation plan or if it concludes that it knowingly or negligently carries or processes illegal robocalls, the Commission will take appropriate enforcement action. This could include removing a certification from the database after providing notice to the VSP and an opportunity to cure the filing, requiring the intermediate provider to submit to more specific robocall mitigation requirements, and/or proposing the imposition of a forfeiture.
In order to be reinstated in the RMD so as to be able to carry traffic, a VSP would likely be required to negotiate a multiyear compliance plan with the Enforcement Bureau staff, have such plan approved by the Bureau Chief, and be published in the Daily Digest. This process may well last as much as 9 months to a year, during which time, the VSP cannot provide any service.
The CommLaw Group Can Help!
When the RMD filing deadline is published in the Federal Register, The CommLaw Group will promptly distribute a client advisory with pertinent compliance information. The CommLaw Group will be happy to assist with the preparation and filing of your RMDs, as well as advising on best practices for robocall mitigation and STIR/SHAKEN compliance.
Due to the FCC’s rapidly changing robocall mitigation rules and policies, it is critical that VSPs stay informed of all aspects of the moving target. Accordingly, if you would like additional regulatory updates tailored to the needs of your company, please contact one of our attorneys below, who will gladly provide additional information on signing up for these updates.
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