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Starks Presses Carriers for Free Default Robocall Blocking

Democratic Commissioner Geoffrey Starks has written to the top voice carriers, including cable voice providers Comcast, Cox, and Charter, trying to pin them down on their plans to provide free, default, robocall blocking.

The FCC unanimously agreed last week to clarify that carriers can block unwanted calls before they get to subs, so long as they give them an option to opt out. But while FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he expected that service to be provided free since it would actually save carriers money, the FCC did not mandate that it be free, as both Starks and fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel had wanted. 

Commissioner Starks

Commissioner Starks

Related: Dems Want Assurances Consumers Won't Pay for Call Blocking

“Carriers made clear to the Commission: They want to offer call blocking services to consumers by default. My colleagues and I made clear to carriers: They should not charge consumers for these services. The Commission has acted. Now it is industry’s turn to put these new tools to work for consumers. I’m looking forward to learning the details of their plans to do so," said Starks.

Starks wants the following information:

1. "Indicate whether you will offer your customers default call blocking services on an informed opt-out basis and, if so, provide details of your plans to deploy these services, including a timeline for implementation.
2. "Describe how you intend to inform consumers about this service.
3. "Indicate whether you expect to act contrary to the Commission’s clear expectations and
nevertheless charge your customers for these services.
4. "If you do not currently plan to offer customers default call blocking services on an
informed opt-out basis, please explain why."

Letters also went to AT&T, Centurylink, Frontier, Google, Sprint, TDST-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon and Vonage. Starks would like to hear back by July 10.