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FCC Starts Process of Building Database For Reassigned Phone Numbers

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday announced its intention to create a database of reassigned phone numbers that will be used to keep from accidentally calling individuals whose phone numbers have been changed.

By announcing its intention, the FCC has opened up the opportunity to receive comments about the proposal. The announcement was made during the FCC’s monthly meeting yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Developing a database that robocallers would use to check before calling a number has “broad support among both robocallers and consumers,” the FCC said in its Notice of Inquiry (NOI). Approximately 35 million phone numbers are disconnected every year and as many as 100,000 numbers are reassigned by telephone carriers every day, according to some sources.

In seeking information, the FCC is attempting to answer several logistical questions, including:

  • what information should carriers be required to report?
  • which carriers should be required to participate?
  • who should bear the costs of maintaining the database?

What is interesting about the idea is that it is being supported by both Democrats and Republicans on the FCC. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the lone Democrat on the FCC, voiced her support for the measure, as did FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who are both Republicans.

ACA International applauded the move to fight back against the “growing number of bad actors who are using modern dialing technology to harass and scam consumers,” but also requested that the FCC stop using the word robocall because of the negative connotations associated with the term.

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