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New BT landline service will automatically divert nuisance calls

Thursday, February 11th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

BT is set to launch a new phone service to help its customers avoid nuisance calls.

The system will work like a ‘junk’ email folder, automatically diverting unwanted calls into a separate voicemail box.

Most rogue phone numbers will be indentified at a network level by BT, while others will be added to the company's blacklist if enough customers report them.

Customers will be able to create their own personal blacklist by adding unwanted numbers, international calls or withheld numbers.

BT anticipates that the new feature, which will be launched later this year, will enable it to divert up to 25m calls a week.

It will also help the company share information with regulators including Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

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

“We are delighted to have made this major breakthrough. We are giving control of the landline back to our customers and removing a major hassle and grief for millions of customers.”

Mr Petter said BT has been at the forefront of helping customers defend themselves against a “flood” of PPI and unwanted marketing calls.

The company has previously developed the Cleanfeed filter, which protects customers from child abuse images online, and the BT 8500 Advanced Call Blocker, which helps block unwanted calls.

'Malicious players'

“We are doing our bit,” added Mr Petter. “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.”

TalkTalk already blocks nuisance calls at a network level and claims to prevent around 70m calls a month reaching its customers – double the amount blocked last year.

A spokesperson said: "TalkTalk has already been blocking nuisance and scam calls for over two years, during which time we have been the only provider to offer this service for free.

"We’re pleased to see other providers follow our lead in taking a stand against nuisance calls. But this is an urgent problem, which can only be tackled if government mandates all telecoms providers to offer free call blocking."

Earlier this week BT and TalkTalk were two of a number of companies to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ofcom focusing on nuisance calls.

The MoU is aimed at bringing together information from BT, TalkTalk, Sky, Virgin Media, Vodafone, Hutchison 3G, KCom and Telefonica to reduce the impact of nuisance calls on consumers.

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