Robocalls are annoying, period. I don’t think there’s anyone in the entire world who stands by their phone eagerly waiting for one.
They also happen to be one of the things customers most complain about and it’s thanks to those overwhelming complaint numbers that the FCC decided to be the knight in shining armor and deliver us to salvation with an unanimous vote that decided carriers can now completely block the robocalls.
The vote comes soon after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai initially proposed this blocking rule and outright called robocalls “the scourge of civilization” on Twitter.
AT&T and T-Mobile have been offering robocall-blocking services since a while ago but they were opt-in, something a lot of people didn’t really know about unless they decided to specifically look for it. The new ruling will now allow the companies to enable the block by default.
This means that the calls will be restricted to the people in your contact list and, of course, the numbers that are not suspected of being spam calls.
“The Commission approved a Declaratory Ruling to affirm that voice service providers may, as the default, block unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics, as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt out of the blocking.” FCC’s press release states.
It goes on to add that “The ruling also clarifies that providers may offer their customers the choice to opt-in to tools that block calls from any number that does not appear on a customer’s contact list or other “white lists.” This option would allow consumers to decide directly whose calls they are willing to receive. Consumer white lists could be based on the customer’s own contact list, updated automatically as consumers add and remove contacts from their smartphones.”
There’s one thing that needs to be mentioned though: the decision does not mention anything about the blocking service being free of charge, though FCC Commissioner Starks did mention that he expects that the companies will not charge the users for it.
“Providers who implement these services will save billions of dollars as network capacity is freed up,” he said. “I would have serious concerns with a carrier that includes a line item on consumers’ bills or otherwise charges them for these services.”
Unfortunately, we all know that carriers do love their extra fees, no matter how small they might be, so we’ll see what decision they’ll take soon enough.