Deadline to Comment on FCC’s Call Blocking Notification Requirements is January 31, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments on call blocking notification requirements for voice service providers (VSPs). More specifically, the FCC is asking for input on whether VSPs should transition from Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Code 603 for purposes of the immediate notification of call blocking requirement and to full implementation of SIP Codes 607 and 608 and, if so, how. The deadline for comments is January 31, 2022.

SIP Codes are signaling protocols that detail the status of a call. SIP Code 603 signals to the caller that the recipient declined the call but does not indicate whether the call was blocked. SIP Code 607 indicates the called party does not want the call. SIP Code 608 signals the call was rejected by an intermediary VSP or its call blocking and labeling analytics company.

The TRACED Act and prior call blocking rules require VSPs to provide immediate notification to a caller when their call is blocked. By the FCC’s December 2020 Fourth Report and Order in the same docket, VSPs were required to use SIP Codes 607 and 608 notifications beginning on January 1, 2022.

However, VSPs sought more flexibility with regard to providing blocking notification, so USTelecom petitioned the FCC to also allow SIP Code 603 notifications. In December 2021, the FCC issued its Sixth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) and Waiver Order which granted that petition in part. The amended regulation allows VSPs to use SIP Codes 603, 607, or 608 to comply with the immediate notification rule until the effective date of the final regulations the FCC is seeking comment on.

The FCC has indicated a preference for SIP Codes 607 and 608, but if the amended rule is ultimately the final rule, callers might contemplate handling a SIP Code 603 notification as a blocked call notification that warrants contacting the VSP for blocking information and remedies. Interested parties must submit comments by January 31, 2022, and reply comments are due by February 14, 2022.

The Notice can be viewed here and the Sixth FNPRM, including instructions on how to comment, can be viewed here.

*Aaron Parry contributed to this post