Last month the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Declaratory Ruling to provide safeguards and controls for text-enabled Toll-Free Numbers. Released on June 7, 2018, the FCC’s declaratory ruling was the result of a petition Somos submitted in October, 2016.
The FCC declared that a messaging provider cannot enable texting on a Toll-Free Number (TFN) without the authorization of the subscriber. The record in the proceeding showed that TFNs can and have been text-enabled without the subscriber’s knowledge. The FCC also declared that any TFN that is text-enabled must first be assigned in the Toll-Free Number Registry, to prevent that TFN from being used by two different entities for two different services.
So what is the Text and Smart Services (TSS) Registry and how can it help you comply with this important ruling? The TSS Registry, administrated by Somos, is the authoritative registry for Toll-Free Numbers that have been text-enabled by a Service Registrar, also commonly referred to as a messaging provider. It provides a single platform where Service Registrars can go to have a number validated and subsequently authorized for text enablement on behalf of the subscriber. As a single, centralized data source, the TSS Registry makes compliance with the FCC ruling simple and efficient. Additionally, it provides a valuable service in that it both protects the integrity of the Toll-Free Numbers as well as provides an efficient way to text-enable numbers.
Historically texting was a purely mobile-to-mobile service but, as the industry gave rise to texting to Toll-Free Numbers, it became clear that the new service was in need of rules and guidelines to prevent abuses. Somos is proud to have been a driving force in suggesting the types of controls that could be implemented to help ensure accountability and promote open competition in messaging services as well as maintain the integrity of Toll-Free Numbers.
Are you considering offering your own texting service or using a third party? If so, using the TSS Registry can help you comply with the recent FCC ruling. First, TSS will alert the Resp Org for a TFN that a request to text-enable a number has been made. The Resp Org will be able to confirm that new service request with the authorized subscriber. Additionally, the TSS registry will only permit a request to text-enable a TFN if that TFN is already assigned in the TFN Registry.
When you text-enable a Toll-Free Number and register it with the TSS Registry, you are taking a proactive step to ensure that the Toll-Free industry continues to grow and thrive, all while maintaining competition, confidence, and integrity of the system. Somos is pleased to have the opportunity to offer the TSS Registry and help implement the new meaningful controls and safeguards mandated by the FCC order.