Last week, AT&T’s Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, received a letter from Chairman Wheeler addressing the robocalls that continue to plague our industry and our customers. AT&T agrees that decisive action is needed. Indeed, AT&T has separately called for the development of comprehensive and industry-wide solutions to address these unwanted, illegal and often fraudulent calls.
As the letter noted, telecommunications providers must play a vital role in attacking the robocalling problem and AT&T is prepared to take a leadership position in the industry in the development of comprehensive solutions. We currently allow many of our customers to block calls using black-listing software like Nomorobo and we are committed to providing our customers with the best blocking tools available for use with their knowledge and consent.
But call blocking alone will not address the problem as robocallers continue to develop ways to evade established filters and black lists. To effectively stem the tide of these calls, the communications industry – network providers, handset makers and device OS developers alike – must work together to ensure that only calls from legitimate callers and those associated with legitimate and unaltered numbers are sent to consumer phones.
For these reasons, and at the request of Chairman Wheeler, Mr. Stephenson has agreed to chair a new Robocalling Strike Force, the mission of which will be to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions to abate the proliferation of robocalls and to make recommendations to the FCC on the role government can play in this battle.
Furthermore, in a response to the FCC today, AT&T confirmed and committed to the specific requests in Chairman Wheeler’s letter: AT&T will conform to emerging IETF and ATIS VOIP caller ID verification standards as soon as they are available; AT&T will investigate and adopt, where viable, SS7 solutions associated with VOIP calls, in accordance with adopted verification standards; AT&T will work together with the industry, the standards bodies and through the new task force on a “Do Not Originate” list for the purpose of identifying suspicious calls originating outside of the United States; and AT&T will facilitate efforts by other carriers to adopt call blocking technologies on their networks.
AT&T joins Chairman Wheeler and his staff in the commitment to bring the industry together to protect consumers from unwanted communications and to rid our communications networks of these unwanted and pernicious calls.