Robocall Under New Regulations

Federal regulators approved new protections for consumers against unwanted phone calls and text messages, cracking down on a growing number of automatically dialed robocalls that have led to a flood of complaints.

“I detest robocalls. I’m not alone,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, one of three Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission who approved the measure Thursday over Republican objections.

“It’s time — long past time — to do something about this,” she said.

FCC moves to crack down on unwanted robocalls
FCC moves to crack down on unwanted robocalls
The two Republican commissioners, Michael O'Reilly and Ajit Pai, agreed that robocalls were annoying.

But they said the new rules would make it more difficult for businesses to provide services and information to their customers and could lead to an increase in class-action lawsuits under the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said telemarketers have used new technology to get around restrictions in the law. The agency received about 215,000 consumer complaints last year about robocalls, more than on any other issue.

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“There’s a simple concept in the statute that we embrace today: You cannot be called unless you consent to be called. The consumer should be in control,” he said.

Under the new regulations, consumers can stop robocalls by simply telling the caller “in any reasonable way, at any time” to stop calling. Companies often have required written notification to stop calls.

Companies that use automatic dialing technology also would have to stop calling a number that has been reassigned after making just one call.

AT&T hit with $100-million fine for its 'unlimited' data plans
AT&T hit with $100-million fine for its 'unlimited' data plans
And the FCC made clear that phone companies can offer blocking technology to their customers without violating rules about delivering calls.

But business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have complained that the new robocall regulations will make it tougher for companies to contact their customers.

O'Reilly and Pai noted that 37 million phone numbers are reassigned each year, and there is no reliable database of those changes.

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Do Not Call List doesn't work. Solicitors do not allow you to view the telephone number that is calling you. They refuse to give you their number even if you pretend that you are interested, but need to call them back. If you get angry and say something rude (after a torrent of calls and...
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AT 7:47 AM JUNE 19, 2015
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“So even the most well-intentioned and well-informed business will sometimes call a number that’s been reassigned to a new person,” Pai said. Those businesses could be subject to lawsuits if they continue to call, even if the person doesn't answer or notify them that the number has been reassigned, he said.

Rosenworcel joined O'Reilly and Pai in criticizing an exception in the new rules for robocalls or texts from financial institutions and healthcare providers who could, for example, alert consumers about possible fraud to their bank accounts or remind them to refill prescriptions.


“Consumers have made clear — abundantly clear — they want fewer robocalls.” Rosenworcel said. “So I do not understand why for some sectors of the economy this commission gives the green light for more robocalls when consumers want a red one.”

The FCC also voted 3-2 to start formally considering an expansion of the Lifeline program, which provides subsidized phone service for low-income households, to cover high-speed Internet connections as well.

Paid for by a fee on consumers' monthly phone bills, the program has been strongly criticized by Republicans as wasteful and in need of reform.

The FCC took steps in 2012 to rein in the program. Its $1.7-billion cost last year was down from $2.2 billion in 2012, and participants were reduced to 12 million from 18 million.

Democratic commissioners said more low-income households needed access to broadband. But Republicans said the program should not be expanded until more is done to reduce waste, fraud and abuse and until its budget is capped.

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-robocall-fcc-20150618-story.html

7 Ways SIP Trunking Can Change Your Business

Businesses are rushing to adopt SIP Trunking. According to Infonetics Research, the market for SIP Trunking grew a 35% in 2014 alone, and this uptake isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. In fact, Infonetics also predicts that that the global SIP Trunking market will grow to $8 billion by 2018, with most of that growth coming from the United States.mpsipicon

So why exactly is SIP Trunking adoption growing so fast? The fact is that more and more business leaders are realizing SIP Trunking can offer huge benefits to their companies.

Here are seven major ways that SIP Trunking can help businesses:

  1.  Cloud communications and unified communications have gone mainstream: SIP Trunking makes it easy to deliver and manage cloud communications services and migrate from the PSTN to VoIP
     
  2. Rapid Return on Investment: SIP Trunking has a negligible CAPEX requirement meaning that, as businesses can maintain the same features they receive with their local PBX, they will quickly recoup the benefits of switching
     
  3. Leverage ubiquitous broadband availability: SIP Trunks are delivered over IP and are available wherever broadband is. With broadband availability spreading across the US, more businesses will be free to take advantage of SIP Trunking
     
  4. Faster geographic growth: By using networking to combine voice and data, SIP Trunks can better connect distant business locations to expand a company’s geographic voice and data system
     
  5. Reduced call cost: SIP Trunking can dramatically reduce the cost of making and taking calls, with Gartner reporting that adopting SIP Trunking can half a businesses’ telecommunications cost
     
  6. Unprecedented mobility: SIP Trunking can help tie together mobile devices and remote workers by enabling a blend of on-premise and cloud-based services, creating a best-of-both-worlds solution
     
  7. Scalability at peak times: Unlike traditional POTs and T1/PRI lines that require planning for peak call times, SIP trunking offers the flexibility of on-demand scalability
     

These are all big positives for businesses and so far an estimated 50% of all companies have adopted SIP Trunking and are currently realizing these benefits.

However, adoption still has a long way to go. Unfortunately, one of the biggest impediments to the adoption of SIP Trunking is the availability of broadband. Thankfully that situation is changing quickly.

 

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As more T1 lines are replaced with broadband-capable infrastructure, Infonetics projects that SIP Trunking adoption will rise to 78% by 2016.

Growth from 50% to 78% adoption in just two years is a huge leap and presents a massive opportunity for channel providers. The channel needs to be ready to deliver branded, reliable SIP Trunking solutions and offer customers streamlined migration from their legacy systems, if they are to take advantage of this explosive growth in demand.

Microsoft announces steps to simplify organization and align devices strategy

July 17, 2014

Company will take restructuring charge of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion.
REDMOND, Wash. — July 17, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a restructuring plan to simplify its organization
and align the recently acquired Nokia Devices and Services business with the company’s overall strategy.

These steps will result in the elimination of up to 18,000 positions over the next year. Of the total, about 12,500 professional and factory positions will be eliminated through synergies and strategic alignment of the Nokia Devices and Services business acquired by Microsoft on April 25.

The actions associated with the plan are expected to be substantially complete by Dec. 31, 2014, and fully completed by June 30, 2015.

The company expects to incur pre-tax charges of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion over the next four quarters, including $750 million to $800 million for severance and related benefit costs, and $350 million to $800 million of asset-related charges.

The plans were outlined in an email from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Microsoft employees, and an email from Microsoft Executive Vice President Stephen Elop to Microsoft Devices Group employees.

To read Nadella’s email, see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2014/jul14/07-17announcement1.aspx 

To read Elop’s email, see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2014/jul14/07-17announcement2.aspx

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

What you can learn from the Comcast call from hell

The case for recording your phone calls with customer service

If there is a hell, being stuck on a call like this one with a Comcast customer service representative would surely be one fitting punishment for those who sinned in life. Ryan Block, vice-president of product at AOL and a customer who wanted to simply disconnect his service, posted a delicious slice of his attempt to disconnect his cable service.

Audio: Have you ever had a cancellation as bad as this Comcast experience?

comcasthq“Why is it that you don’t want the faster speed? Help me understand why you don’t want faster Internet?” the Comcast customer service representative asks after Block tells him he wants to ditch the service. With cable companies aggressively trying to hold onto customers who want to switch providers or cut the cord altogether, it’s probably not the only time a customer service representative has fought valiantly (and, yes, infuriatingly) to hold onto a customer. “My job is to have a conversation with you about keeping your service,” the Comcast employee said. (A spokesman for Comcast apologized for the call and said it’s “not consistent” with how the company trains its staff.)

But the call also stumbles upon a new weapon being employed by consumers, much to the chagrin of some companies: make the call, record the call and post the call (for the world to hear). By recording conversations with customer service representatives, frustrated consumers can acquire powerful ammunition to have their way, experts say. Americans may be resigned to having their phone calls recorded for “quality control” purposes and being told that they may not do the same, if they decide to ask permission. But, experts say, if one party is already recording the phone call, there may be fewer legal reasons for the other party to also seek permission to do the same, particularly if recording the call means it’s no longer regarded as confidential.

The Comcast fiasco is a classic example of why companies don’t want you recording calls. While some customer service departments and call centers do use the recordings to train employees, what consumers say on the phone could also come back to haunt them later, says Glenn Conley, president and CEO of Metropark Communications, Inc., a voice and data communications company in St. Louis. Most calls between consumers and customer service staff are not just recorded for quality control, he says, but archived and used at a later date in case there’s a legal or policy dispute. “It’s more in line with covering what legal issues might arise down the road,” Conley says.

 

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