Help is on the way for the tele-weary

Help is on the way for the tele-weary

The Federal Trade Commission has awarded a 10-year contract to AT&T Government Solutions of Vienna, Va., to develop and implement a national do-not-call telemarketing registry.

An initial $3.5 million has been authorized for operation of the registry through Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. There are nine optional years in the contract.

Consumers will be able to add their telephone numbers to the registry either by phone or through a Web site. Most commercial telemarketers will be required to download the directory at least quarterly and will be forbidden from calling included numbers. The directory is expected to start operating this summer.

The registry will cover landline telephone numbers initially and wireless phones eventually, said Richard Callahan, client business manager for AT&T.

The contract calls for software, applications and database development, and the integration of voice and Internet services. The registry's Website will be hosted from the AT&T Government Solutions data center in Ashburn, Va.

Callahan said the company has to figure out how to give consumers access to the registry to download their numbers, how to let telemarketers view the registry without the key to change numbers, and how the FTC can electronically register consumer complaints if a telemarketer illegally uses the numbers.

The company also has to determine how 17 states with existing registries can download numbers from their databases to the national registry. Callahan said states would likely use Extensible Markup Language.

About the Authors

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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