For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, June 7, 2018 — In recent comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the American Cable Association said free-market principles offer a more effective and efficient approach than regulatory mandates to reducing the number of unwanted robocalls to reassigned numbers.
“ACA supports the FCC’s efforts to reduce the number of unwanted calls to reassigned phone numbers and believes that the best way to do so is to bolster solutions that already exist in the marketplace by adopting a safe harbor from Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) liability for callers who use a qualified data aggregator to verify their call lists. There is no reason for the FCC to re-invent the wheel or rely on burdensome new regulatory mandates when efficient, free-market solutions already exist,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
In comments filed on June 7, 2018, in response to an FCC proposal to create a database of telephone numbers that have been reassigned from one customer to another, ACA told the FCC that relying on service providers to report information on reassigned numbers to a centralized database is the wrong approach to reducing unwanted calls to reassigned numbers. Instead, ACA said the agency should focus on encouraging a system where callers can verify that their call lists are accurate and up-to-date. This is the approach that is currently used by commercial data aggregators, which enter into bilateral agreements with major wireless carriers to compare telephone number information provided by their customers against the wireless carriers’ subscriber information.
ACA explained that the FCC can increase the number of telephone service providers – both wireless and wireline – that participate in these number verification agreements by adopting a safe harbor from TCPA liability for companies that use a qualified data aggregator to verify that their call lists are accurate and up-to-date. ACA argued that to be considered “qualified,” a commercial data aggregator should be able to verify number information for a threshold percentage of all telephone subscribers. If the threshold is high enough, commercial data aggregators and their customers will have incentive to enter into agreements with additional providers, including mid-sized and smaller operators, in order to meet that threshold requirement, so the aggregators can offer to their customers the significant value of a safe harbor from TCPA liability.
ACA told that FCC that under no circumstances should it impose reporting mandates on telephone service providers, especially small providers. The primary beneficiaries of a centralized reassigned numbers database would be the large companies with deep pockets who are regularly targeted for costly TCPA class action lawsuits. Small service providers generally do not engage in calling practices that implicate the TCPA – namely using auto-dialers and pre-recorded messages to communicate with their subscribers. It would be unfair to saddle small service providers and their subscribers with the costs of mandatory reporting just so large, well-heeled companies can avoid liability.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 800 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit https://acaconnects.org/