Time Warner Cable Integrates Robocall-Blocker Into Telephone Service

TWC has updated its VoiceZone site to include the option of turning Nomorobo on or off with a click.

TWC has updated its VoiceZone site to include the option of turning Nomorobo on or off with a click.

While traditional phone companies have been reluctant to integrate available call-blocking technology to help consumers avoid unwanted “robocalls,” some six million Time Warner Cable customers will now be able to turn on a free feature that can cut down on these telephonic annoyances.

Nomorobo was initially cooked up as an entrant into the Federal Trade Commission’s first contest to see who could create the best robocall-blocking device. It won, and since then the service has been available for free to use by anyone with cable phone service (VoIP).

It’s a filter — no device needed — that uses a “blacklist” of phone numbers that have been reported to the FTC as Do Not Call violators, combined with other numbers that consumers have indicated are connected to robocallers.

When someone calls a number using Nomorobo, the service takes advantage of the VoIP technology to allow your home phone to ring at the same time as the call connects to the Nomorobo servers. If the service IDs the incoming number as a robocaller, it ends the call after one ring.

The service was one of several robocall-blockers recently tested in the real world by Consumer Reports readers, and it received high marks, with 85% of testers giving it at least 4 out of 5 points.

However, to use Nomorobo, you not only need VoIP service, you have to set it up yourself. You also have to be aware of the fact that it even exists.

To that end, Time Warner Cable announced today that it is integrating Nomorobo as a free option for its phone customers, and that they can switch the feature on and off via their online settings menu.

TWC customers who sign into their VoiceZone accounts, just have to click on “settings” tab, then “call privacy,” where they will see the tab for Nomorobo.

Our colleagues at Consumers Union have already gathered more than 500,000 signatures on a petition calling for traditional phone companies to make services — whether it’s Nomorobo or something similar — available for free to customers.

“We’re pleased that Time Warner Cable is improving their customers’ access to these types of tools,” says Maureen Mahoney, Policy Analyst at Consumers Union. “It’s time for the top phone companies, including AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink, to take more responsibility for the robocall problem and immediately offer all of their customers effective call-blocking technology for free.”