Table of Contents - December 14, 2018

FCC Declares Text Messaging Is Information Service; Rosenworcel Dissents

Over the dissent of its lone Democratic Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC on Dec. 12 declared that two forms of wireless messaging, short message service (SMS) and multimedia messaging service (MMS), are information services subject only to light regulation under Title I of the Communications Act.

The agency's Republican Commissioners said that the declaratory ruling in WT docket 08-7 would ensure the continued ability of wireless providers to combat "spam robotexts," which they said would be at risk if the FCC granted long-pending petitions to classify text messaging as a telecommunications service subject to common carrier regulation under Title II of the Act, given the requirements for nondiscriminatory provision of Title II services. They also argue that the information service classification is more legally sound. Moreover, Commissioner Mike O'Rielly looked forward toward the expansion of the information service classification to VoIP (voice-over-Internet protocol) and VoLTE.

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FCC Establishes Database Of Reassigned Numbers

The FCC on Dec. 12 unanimously voted to establish a database of relinquished or disconnected phone numbers that telemarketers and other robocallers could use to avoid making unwanted robocalls to subscribers who have been assigned a phone number previously used by someone who had consented to receiving robocalls.

However, Commissioner Mike O'Rielly said he would have preferred the agency to first address some of the robocalling issues implicated by a court decision earlier this year. And Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel urged service providers to make free robocall-blocking tools available to consumer where "technically feasible."

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