FCC approves creation of CUNA-backed reassigned numbers database

December 12, 2018

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a Report and Order Wednesday to create a reassigned numbers database to combat unwanted robocalls. CUNA has strongly pushed for such a database as part of its ongoing advocacy to resolve issues related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Credit unions have faced questions about liability when contacting members with account information under the TCPA, and CUNA has pushed the FCC to take several steps to remedy this issue. One solution, most recently noted by CUNA in August, is for the FCC to create a single, comprehensive database of reassigned numbers.

“We thank the FCC for taking this step toward TCPA relief today, and hope the commission will continue to look at the concerns CUNA has raised impacting credit unions trying to reach their members with vital account information,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “This database, as long as it remains affordable, easy-to-use, and includes a safe harbor, would limit TCPA liability.”

Specifically, the FCC’s Report and Order:

  • Establishes a single, comprehensive reassigned numbers database that will enable callers to verify whether a telephone number has been permanently disconnected, and is therefore eligible for reassignment, before calling that number;
  • Requires a minimum aging period of 45 days before permanently disconnected telephone numbers can be reassigned;
  • Requires voice providers that receive North American Numbering Plan numbers and the Toll Free Numbering Administrator to report on a monthly basis information regarding permanently disconnected numbers to the database;
  • Selects an independent third-party administrator, using a competitive bidding process, to manage the reassigned numbers database;
  • Authorizes the administrator to establish the database by collecting start-up costs from providers using the same type of mechanism as other numbering administration costs;
  • Authorizes the administrator to fund operating costs through database usage charges; and to recoup start-up costs and return them to providers through offsets to future number administration charges;
  • Takes steps to ensure that the data contained in the database are used appropriately and accessible to the widest possible array of users; 
  • Allows small voice providers additional time to begin maintaining and reporting data to the database;
  • Directs the North American Numbering Council to make recommendations on technical and operational issues affecting the database, including usage fees.