NOT SO FAST

A coalition of business groups is rallying against a proposal at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would allow phone carriers to block certain calls by default, an effort to crack down on illegal robocalls.

The group – which includes health care providers, pharmacies and collection agencies – is arguing that the proposal in its current form could make it harder for legitimate businesses to contact their customers using robocalls. In a filing with the FCC on Thursday, they argued the proposal could block “legal” robocalls as well as those that are fraudulent or from scammers.

“Public safety alerts, fraud alerts, data security breach notifications, product recall notices, healthcare and prescription reminders, and power outage updates all could be inadvertently blocked under the draft Declaratory Order, among other time-sensitive calls,” the groups wrote in the filing.

The FCC is slated to vote on the anti-robocall proposal next week. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the plan earlier this month, saying it will put teeth behind the commission’s efforts to stave off the scourge of billions of robocalls dialing U.S. consumers every year.

Pai said his proposal would clarify the FCC’s rules to let carriers filter out robocalls or scam calls from fraudulent numbers.

The groups mobilizing against the proposal include the American Bankers Association, the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, the Credit Union National Association, the National Retail Federation and many others. Over the past week, businesses who rely on robocalling have been asking the FCC to put off voting on the proposal in various filings.

They have asked the commission to open up the proposal to comment, in order to allow the businesses and industry groups to address the sections that they believe will sweep up legal robocalls.

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