In addition, consumers would be allowed to opt-out of any blocking services they do not want.
The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday proposed granting AT&T, Verizon and other telecom carriers clearer powers to block suspected spam calls from ringing consumers' phones, a move that comes a month after robocallers dialed Americans almost 5 billion times, according to one industry estimate.
The tool would not block emergency calls.
"Allowing call blocking by default could be a big benefit for consumers who are sick and exhausted of robocalls". The volume of calls has risen to roughly 5 billion per month, according to call-blocker YouMail, from 2.7 billion in November 2017. Carriers like Comcast, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon are working to deploy STIR/SHAKEN technology that labels calls from authentic numbers.More news: Liverpool's Klopp to put players through 'preseason' ahead of Champions League final
Consumers would be allowed to block any callers that are not included in their list of contacts. "We believe we need to make it easier for phone companies to block these robocalls".
Three-quarters of the U.S. Senate back legislation to provide regulators and law enforcement authorities the additional tools to prevent illegal robocalls and punish robocallers.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on the future of 5G, Huawei, digital privacy and collecting robocall fines. So even if the FCC's new measures pass, carriers could undermine them by charging consumers.
The U.S. telecommunications regulator is expected to approve Pai's proposal at its June 6 meeting.More news: John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Review: 8 Ups & 2 Downs
Several existing applications also require a fee, but Pai says costs would be reduced under the new system because its more expensive to handle the ongoing flood of robocalls.
In May 2018, Pai called on companies to adopt an industry-developed "call authentication system" aimed at ending the use of illegitimate spoofed numbers from the telephone system.
Pai is also seeking to permit carriers to determine how so-called "shaken/stir" ID authentication standards, which rely upon a "digital fingerprint" to validate calls, can be used to cut-down robocalls.
There's little time for the phone companies to get up to speed on the proposal. It estimates there were 4.9 billion calls placed in April 2019 - a rate of 14.9 calls per person. "People who do robocalls are sophisticated and smart, they will figure out some ways to get around it", said Wired editor-in-chief and CBS News contributor Nick Thompson.More news: 5 killed, 10 injured in midair seaplane collision in Alaska
Robocalls have become so common that a 2018 report predicted nearly 50 percent of all mobile calls will be scam calls this year.