Public hearing held on reducing robocalls

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 5:34 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The legislature’s committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology held a public hearing today on a bill addressing the problem of robocalls

The bill would require telephone providers to inform customers they offer free services to reduce or eliminate robocalls.

Industry leaders expressed support for the intentions of the bill but had concerns over how to effectively implement it.

The technology used to identify scams and robocalls requires infrastructure not found in much of rural Maine.

As written, the bill would only apply to landlines although the committee expressed interest in expanding the language to include wireless services.

There are federal laws addressing robocalls and efforts to reduce them.

”I think that this sends a message.” said Barry Hobbins with the Office of the Public Advocate. “I hope the industry will look at it and say this is what the spirit of the legislation is and not hide behind the federal FCC.”

Benjamin Sanborn, Executive Director of the Telecommunications Association of Maine, said the industry wants robocalls reduced as much as anyone else. “It’s complicated. We’re working on it. That’s why we think it’s important to keep this at the federal level. The added benefit is that wireless and VOIP do get rolled in at the federal level.”

If passed, the bill would go into effect at the beginning of next year.

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