FCC affirms wireless carriers' right to block texts

|By:, SA News Editor

The FCC has voted to reclassify wireless text messages as an information service rather than a telecommunications service, in a 3-1 decision.

The decision is small on its face but meaningful from a legal standpoint: It means wireless carriers have the right to block some messages as they see fit.

Proponents, including the FCC's GOP majority, say the change is needed to combat robotexts and unwanted spam messages.

But Democrats including dissenter Jessica Rosenworcel worried about censorship: Carriers have the right to "censor the very content of your messages." Nine senators last week cited a short-lived Verizon decision in 2007 to block texts from a group supporting abortion rights.

The vote is the result of a process set in motion by Twilio (TWLO +5.7%), which sends texts for companies and which three years ago pressed the FCC to call texts a telecommunications service in order to prohibit "unfettered" blocking of the texts.

Major wireless carriers: VZ -2.4%, T +1.8%, TMUS +1.4%, S +2.4%

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