February 7, 2024
FCC Sets New Deadline for Robocall Mitigation Plans (RMP) to Join the RMD
In a further attempt to minimize illegal robocalls, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced the deadline for voice service providers to join its Robocall Mitigation Database. Providers must submit Robocall Mitigation Plans (RMPs) outlining their efforts to combat unwanted communications by February 26, 2024. Learn more about these requirements and other recent developments from the FCC below.
February 26 Deadline for RMP and RMD Certifications
By the end of February, voice service providers need to submit an RMP to the FCC and explain the steps they’re taking to deal with illegal and spoofed robocalls. For example, a provider must state whether they have fully or partially implemented the STIR/SHAKEN authentication framework — one of the FCC’s initiatives to curb unwanted communications. They should also describe other actions taken to reduce robocalls, including compliance with know-your-upstream provider requirements and responding to the agency’s traceback requests.
Obstructing Robocall Mitigation Plans
Not all voice service providers want to comply with requirements from the FCC. Last year, Ars Technica reported that 20 providers submitted “obstructive” RMPs to the Commission in 2021, mainly because they hadn’t implemented STIR/SHAKEN protocols but still wanted to register for the Robocall Mitigation Database. One company sent the agency a Windows printer test page, while another submitted a letter that read, “‘Unfortunately, we do not have such a document.”
These weren’t the only bizarre submissions to the FCC. Voice service provider My TaxiRide sent a copy of an FCC public notice called “FCC Facilitates Review of Restoring Internet Freedom Record” with its RMP. Textodog attached a PNG file of a corporate icon with its submission.
Removing Non-Compliant Telecoms From the Robocall Mitigation Database
The FCC has threatened to remove voice service providers that don’t comply with RMP requirements from the Robocall Mitigation Database. That would effectively block their ability to connect to consumers in the United States. In October of last year, the agency gave the providers that submitted obstructive plans 14 days to explain why they should remain on the database.
It’s unclear why the agency waited so long to issue enforcement action and threaten to remove these companies from communication networks. Harold Feld from the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge told Ars Technica that the agency is understaffed and that its “enforcement regime” is still in its early stages. Another possible reason for the delay is that FCC enforcement action could harm consumers. If the Commission cuts off a voice provider, its customers are unable to make calls.
“Companies providing voice services must take key robocall mitigation steps, including implementing STIR/SHAKEN requirements throughout their IP networks,” says the FCC. “If they fail to demonstrate that they have met these requirements, they can be removed from the database, and notably, other providers will no longer take their traffic.”
Non-RMD Traffic Prohibition Begins May 28
The FCC has also revealed that voice service providers can only accept calls from other providers if those companies are part of the Robocall Mitigation Database. All domestic, foreign, gateway, and non-gateway intermediate providers must abide by the FCC’s RMP requirements and not be subject to enforcement action by the FCC. If these companies don’t comply, providers can’t receive traffic from them.
This new provision starts May 28. However, the RMP deadline is February 26, meaning providers only have a few weeks to comply with the FCC.
The Importance of Working With Trusted Providers
Working with partners that don’t comply with the Robocall Mitigation Database and RMP guidelines can have a huge impact on your operations. Not receiving traffic from these companies means you can’t offer all of your services, which might cause customers to jump ship and sign up with one of your competitors. That’s why you need to know who you do business with.
Going forward, ensure your partners abide by the FCC’s regulations, submit robocall mitigation plans on time, and implement STIR/SHAKEN protocols. Otherwise, you could experience service outages that impact customers if the FCC cuts these companies off from communication networks. Working with compliant partners can also result in a higher attestation rating for your organization, better call delivery, and an improved business reputation.
“Compliance with these rules is fundamental to ensuring U.S. communications networks are unfriendly places for scam robocallers,” says Loyaan Egal, chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “Companies must actively engage in this consumer protection. Ignoring these requirements — or, far worse, supporting illegal callers and scam texters — comes with serious consequences.”
Ongoing Efforts to Mitigate Robocalls
The FCC says February 26 is the deadline for voice service providers to join its Robocall Mitigation Database. Failing to provide an adequate RMP by this date means companies won’t be listed on the database, removing their ability to connect to consumers.
Despite its slow reaction to initial obstructive robocall mitigation plans, the FCC is committed to reducing illegal robocalls and will take necessary action to make sure providers do so. That includes companies you might work with. So, always ensure you partner with organizations that comply with the agency’s requirements.