FCC votes to allow default robocall blocking by carriers

Last month, the FCC announced that it planned to vote on a new ruling that would enable wireless carriers to block robocalls by default, a change that'll require customers to opt-out of the service if they don't want it. In an update on the matter released today, the FCC revealed that it has voted in favor of allowing robocalls to be blocked by default.

Robocalls have become a massive problem for wireless customers who report, in some cases, receiving dozens of unwanted calls every day. These calls often use spoofed numbers featuring the recipient's own area code, a deception that aims to trick the consumer into thinking they're receiving a local call. These robocalls are difficult to block because they often come from different numbers.

Many carriers offer tools that help customers detect and avoid these calls — they include call screen 'Spam' labels and, in some cases, the option to opt-in for an automatic robocall feature. Many consumers remain unaware of the ability to opt-in to the service, however, a problem the FCC will tackle by allowing carriers to enable it by default.

The newly approved Declaratory Ruling allows wireless service providers to use 'reasonable call analytics' for automatically blocking robocalls. These companies are required to alert customers about the automatic blocking and enable them to opt out of the service.

As well, the FCC has clarified that these voice service providers are also allowed to offer an opt-in feature for blocking any calls coming from numbers that aren't on the user's contact list or white list. This is a more drastic alternative to automatic spam call blocking, enabling users to ensure they only get calls from people and companies they've explicitly white listed.