Friday was a big day for a local guy. Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, formally took control of the federal government’s latest attempt to stop annoying robocalls.
At the request of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, Stephenson is chairing the Robocall Strike Force, which had its first meeting Friday in Washington at FCC headquarters. Watch a video of the first meeting here.
Stephenson’s introductory remarks were posted on AT&T’s blog.
“Our goal isn’t complicated,” he said. “Stop unwanted robocalls. Easy to say. Hard to do.”
His strike force will involve carriers, device makers, OS developers, network designers, regulators and lawmakers in finding solutions, he said.
Sounding like a football coach, Stephenson added, “We have to come out of this with a comprehensive playbook for all of us to go execute.”
Stephenson told reps from 33 contributing companies — including Apple, Google, Comcast, Nokia, Samsung, Sprint and Verizon — that the goal is to finish their work by Oct. 19.
“The report will include concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions, and make recommendations to the FCC on the role government should play in this battle,” Stephenson said.
AT&T boss Stephenson added, “The fact that so many companies agreed on such short notice to be here today tells you how serious we are about finding a solution.”
Consumers Union claimed a partial victory with the debut of the Strike Force. CU has been running a national End Robocalls campaign designed to put pressure on companies as well as regulators.
Campaign organizer Tim Marvin said, “The plan unveiled by the Strike Force today represents an important initial victory for consumers and a sign that the phone companies are taking more serious steps to protect their customers from unwanted calls.
“We’ll be monitoring the work of the Strike Force closely in the next 60 days to make sure they deliver on these promises,” Marvin said.
— AT&T Public Policy (@ATTPublicPolicy) July 25, 2016
Read AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson’s opening remarks at the Robocall Strike Force on Aug. 19, 2016.
Robocall Strike Force members:
AT&T; Apple; ATIS; Bandwidth; Blackberry; British Telecom; CenturyLink; Charter; Cincinnati; Bell; Comcast; Consumers Union; Cox; Ericsson; FairPoint; Frontier; Google; Inteliquent; Level 3; LG; Microsoft; Nokia; Qualcomm; Samsung; Silver Star; Sirius XM; Sprint; Syniverse; T-Mobile; U.S. Cellular; Verizon; West; Windstream; X5 Solutions.
Read more of The Watchdog’s coverage on AT&T and robocalls:
Randall Stephenson’s war on robocalls begins – Dallas Morning News