Groups Meet with FCC to Discuss How Blocked Calls Will be Coded

Last week, representatives from a number of trade associations, including ACA International, held a meeting with individuals in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission to lobby for the adoption of a special code that would provide companies with immediate notifications of calls that were blocked via analytics-based algorithms.

Along with ACA International, representatives from the American Bankers Association, Credit Union National Association, the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, the National Council of Higher Education Resources, the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions, and American Express, participated in the meeting.

Currently, the FCC is using a SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) code of 603, which indicates that the call was declined by the recipient, but does not indicate whether it was blocked. Creating a separate SIP code for calls that were automatically blocked by the carrier as opposed to those that were declined by the end user would provide “timely, actionable notification of analytics-based blocking consistent with the TRACED Act and the Commission’s previously articulated priorities,” according to the groups, which sent an ex parte letter to the FCC summarizing the discussion.

A separate 603 SIP code — dubbed 603+ — has been proposed as a means of indicating calls that were blocked by the network rather than the consumer, and the parties wanted to understand whether the FCC would be adopting the 608 code or moving forward with the 603+ code to denote blocked calls.

“Any 603+ specification that requires callers to replace, reprogram, or retrofit equipment wholesale would impermissibly shift costs onto small businesses in violation of the TRACED Act and would prolong the timeframe for operational viability,” the groups wrote in their letter. “Nevertheless, without prejudice to our longstanding position of record, we intend to continue working with the standard-setting bodies to ensure that whichever code is ultimately adopted for analytics blocking, 603+ or 608, the code provides actionable information and that it can be implemented in the networks of both providers and callers in a reasonably prompt fashion.”

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