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BT announces free service to screen nuisance callers

Thu 11 Feb 2016

Call operator

British telco BT is launching a free landline service for UK customers which promises to divert millions of unwanted calls.

A dedicated team at BT will monitor calls made to UK numbers, across its network of over 10 million domestic landlines, to identify suspicious patterns, which could help to filter out nuisance callers. The flagged numbers will then be directed to a junk voicemail box.

The company has estimated that the voicemail ‘net’ will catch up to 25 million cold calls every week. It explained that to achieve this success rate, it would be deploying enormous amounts of compute power to monitor and analyse large amounts of data in real-time.

The new service is expected to launch later in 2016, but customers can sign up in advance from tomorrow.

BT added that it would share the data it collects with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and regulator Ofcom. The group said that this new action will significantly cut the number of calls that UK customers receive.

Customers will also be able to divert any unwanted calls to blacklists, and select whole blocks of numbers that they wish not to receive, such as international calls or undisclosed numbers.

“Nuisance calls are one of the great annoyances of modern life,” commented BT Consumer CEO John Petter. “Everyone will have received one.”

Petter described the initiative as a “major breakthrough,” and encouraged other providers to implement similar efforts.

“We are doing our bit. We call on other providers to up their game in the fight against this menace. They can help us to root out the malicious players they may be hosting on their own networks when we identify dodgy and suspicious calling behaviour,” he said.

Recent research from consumer watchdog Which? revealed that around 75% of consumers receive a nuisance call every month. These calls were primarily related to PPI or personal injury claims, or were pre-recorded marketing messages.

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