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ACA Connects Backs Opt-Out Robocall Tools

The ACA Connects (formerly the American Cable Association) has written House Communications Subcommittee leaders to praise its ranking member's robocall bill.

The STOP (Support Tools to Obliterate Pesky) Robocalls Act, one of more than a half dozen robocall-related bills being considered in a hearing Tuesday (April 30), would allow broadband providers to offer robocall-blocking tools for free on an "informed opt-out basis," something the association has been pushing for months, it points out.

They already give their subs the choice to opt in to the blocking tools, but ACA Connects says few customers sign up for the servicein spite of their growing frustration with the calls and the positive feedback they get from those who have opted in. Adopting the opt-out regime would "empower a much broader share of its customers to enjoy freedom from robocalls—while still preserving the right of the customer to choose," it told Congress.

"Given the popularity of these tools among customers that use them, we anticipate that opt-out rates would be low—and thus, many more of our customers would receive the benefit of these tools than do today," it told the subcommittee.

"This provision would empower providers, especially smaller providers such as ACA Connects members, to do more to protect their customers from the annoyances and dangers of robocalls," said association president Matt Polka. "I encourage the subcommittee to give this provision its fullest consideration, and to advance legislation to the full committee that includes it as soon as possible.”

Among the reasons for the flurry of bills on a subject also in the wheelhouse of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai,is that the FCC received almost a quarter million robocall complaints in 2018, a 34% increase since 2015, according to the subcommittee. The subcommittee hearing memo also cited a staggering 48 billion robocalls in 2018.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.