FCC Chairman Pushing for Reassigned Numbers Database

In the most recent action in an aggressive campaign to more effectively regulate unwanted calls and text messages, FCC Chairman Pai is calling upon his fellow commissioners to approve a proposal creating a single, comprehensive database of reassigned U.S. phone numbers.  The database would allow callers to mitigate TCPA risks by verifying that numbers in their calling lists have not been reassigned to a third party.  It will also help consumers avoid unwanted calls intended for the prior subscriber of their phone number.

Operationally speaking, the proposed database will require that permanently disconnected numbers be held in the database for a minimum of 45 days before becoming eligible for reassignment. The database will be fueled by the Toll-Free Numbering Administrator and North American voice providers who will be required to report to the database on a monthly basis. Costs for administration and maintenance of the database would be passed onto callers making queries to the database to verify the current consumer ownership of numbers.

In addition to creating the database, the Chairman’s proposal also seeks to classify text messaging as an informational service rather than a call service. This has important implications because it gives carriers the freedom to use text-blocking and anti-spoofing measures to protect consumers from unwanted text messages.

The FCC will consider these proposals, among others, at its next Open Commission Meeting on December 12, 2018.

Click to view the FCC’s final Draft Report and Order on Reassigned Numbers Database.