NCTA to FCC: Protect Our Customer Calls

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NCTA-the Internet & Television Association is urging the FCC not to remove an exemption from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for calls that are for a commercial purpose but do not “include or introduce an advertisement or constitute telemarketing," as at least one commenter has suggested.

That is according to an NCTA meeting with FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks this week. 

Also Read: FCC Adopts Robocall Safe Harbors

The FCC is seeking advice on how to better crack down on unwanted calls--specifically how to implement the TRACED Act, and that advice has included limiting the number of commercial, non-telemarketing calls, to residential numbers. But NCTA says its informational calls serve a variety of pro-consumer, and in this case pro-subscriber, purposes including confirming orders and appointments, customer-requested call backs, service outage notifications, potential fraud notifications and other notifications it says are "unquestionably beneficial to the subscriber." It says cable operators have no incentive to make any more such calls than are necessary and that other service businesses--FedEx is one of them--share its concerns.

Also Read: Broadband Association's Push for Robocall Safe Harbor

NCTA says the FCC should reject any proposal to set a limit on such non-telemarketing calls--one commenter suggested limiting non-telemarketing calls to "one time per event"--or requiring companies to allow customers to opt out of them, as has also been suggested.

"Allowing customers to opt out from receiving these vital communications could unduly interfere with a cable operator’s ability to provide its customers with information that is critical to the proper functioning of the service they are purchasing," NCTA said. 

The association also says limiting the number of calls could have First Amendment implications.

Also opposing new limits on informational robocalls are the American Bankers Association, American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, American Financial Services Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Credit Union National Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, National Council of Higher Education Resources, the Student Loan Servicing Alliance, and the Edison Electric Institute, which represents all investor-owned electric companies.

John Eggerton

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.