Partisan gridlock may be the status quo in Washington, but an initiative outside the Beltway serves as a model of working together to address a common ill.
Fifty-one attorneys general and a dozen telephone companies have set aside partisanship and competitive capitalism to join forces against illegal robocalls that vex most Americans.
We can hardly think of a better target for reform. Although the government’s Do Not Call Registry helped keep nuisance calls at bay to some degree, the aggravation has increased.
Many nuisance callers have stooped to despicable tactics such as number spoofing, which causes a recipient’s Caller ID to show a number with a local area code and prefix to deceive someone into answering the call.
That’s a dirty trick, and it’s infuriating enough that one must question the effectiveness of robocalls and telemarketing.
The initiative of the nation’s attorneys general and telephone companies AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Windstream, may well be the solution, as phone companies pledge to create tools for users to block unwanted calls at no charge, and work with law enforcement to identify and prosecute “bad actors.”
We applaud the effort, although for telephone companies, it’s not entirely altruistic. Some consumers have become so frustrated by annoying calls, they’ve discontinued their service, which makes the effort necessary for communications providers to protect their market shares.