Congress has told voice service providers to shut down robocallers and instate call blocking by default. The FCC has mandated just the same. Now, 12 voice service providers have agreed to a series of principles drawn by attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia that include offering that call blocking to consumers for free, implementing STIR/SHAKEN across their networks, and cooperating in investigations.

The agreement comes after AT&T and T-Mobile rolled out STIR/SHAKEN authentication between their networks to sniff out spoofed numbers. It reaffirms the a lot of what the federal government has already demanded from call providers.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, Bandwidth Inc., CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated Communications, Frontier Communications, and Windstream have agreed to:

  • offer free call blocking and labeling
  • implement STIR/SHAKEN authentication across between all of their networks
  • analyze high-volume traffic and monitor for patterns that could indicate robocall activity
  • investigate suspicious patterns or calls
  • confirm the identity of commercial VoIP customers — most conducive to robocalling operations
  • require subcontractors to cooperate with call traceback requests
  • cooperate with state and industry traceback investigations
  • communicate with state attorneys general

Neither Congress nor the FCC have mandated that call blocking be offered to customers free of charge. This agreement doesn't actually do much to require the same as it is not legally binding. However, given how much public pressure on the matter and the real costs on the service providers of carrying malicious traffic, you should expect some level of conformity to this paper handshake.