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Sen. Blumenthal, FCC’s Rosenworcel push phone companies on robocall blocking

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Federal Communication Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, and consumers groups called on telephone companies to offer robocall blocking tech to consumers, now that there is no legal impediment standing in the way.

The FCC last month passed new rules updating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act,of 1991, and  gave consumers more control over who gets to call their cell phone numbers. In particular, the new regulations allows mobile carriers to offer call-blocking technology, something that was previously prohibited by FCC rules.

“The companies’ continuing failure to provide immediate easy access to blocking technology makes them an enabler of anti-consumer abuses. A crackdown on robocalls is within ready reach, if only the telephone companies enable consumers to take control,” said Blumenthal in a press conference Monday.

The CTIA, which represents the wireless industry, quickly agreed with the Senator about the negative impact of robocalls on its customers and pointed out the suite of tools the industry currently offers consumers to control who has access to their phones.

” It’s … important that consumers control who they want to hear from since what could be viewed as a nuisance call by one person would be a welcomed communication by another. That’s why the CTIA and its members – individually and collectively – developed a variety of tools, many for free, so that consumers can stop these robocalls and unwanted communications from ‘blacklisting’ phone numbers to downloading apps. We provide a list divided by operating systems on our website, and we encourage consumers to take advantage of them today,” said Brad Gillen, executive vice president, CTIA-The Wireless Association.”