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Crackdown on nuisance telephone calls

BT has announced a crackdown on nuisance calls and launched a new free service - the first of its kind in the UK - that helps its home phone customers in the Midlands stop the millions of unwanted calls received every year.

The service uses technology developed by experts at BT's network management centre in Oswestry.

BT said it was "declaring war" on the companies that regularly pester its customers with nuisance calls on subjects such as PPI and personal accident claims.

Across the UK, BT estimates that the BT Call Protect service could divert up to 30 million nuisance calls a week to a junk voicemail box - preventing them from irritating customers.

The exclusive Call Protect Service has been designed so it is easy for customers to switch on and simple to manage from the home phone or online.

The latest research carried out for BT shows that in the Midlands on average people receive between three and four nuisance calls a week.

Sixty per cent of people in the UK said they find nuisance calls stressful. More women say they find nuisance calls stressful than men do, with two-thirds of women and just over half of men revealing they find these stressful.

More than a quarter of people are concerned about their parents or grandparents getting nuisance calls in case they are conned.

The BT Call Protect service is the first of its kind in the UK, combining network intelligence with the ability for customers to control the calls they receive, either from the home phone or online.

The launch of the BT Call Protect service has been made possible by a technological breakthrough, which has been achieved by harnessing huge computing power to analyse large amounts of live data.

This analysis enables network experts at BT's centre in Oswestry ito identify rogue numbers - typically those that make enormous numbers of calls - and to add them to a BT blacklist.

It works proactively to divert calls before they even reach and irritate a customer unlike reactive blocking where the customer has been troubled and where the numbers used by nuisance callers are changed frequently to avoid detection.

This proactive intervention will drastically reduce the number of such calls customers receive. BT says recent data shows that it could divert up to 15 million calls a week from personal accident claims and 
PPI companies alone.

Although the BT blacklist will divert the top offending nuisance callers, for calls not captured by the technology, customers will be able compile their own personal blacklist, by adding individual unwanted numbers. They can add a number simply by dialling 1572 after receiving the call or by going online.

If large numbers of customers identify troublesome numbers that they wish to divert they will be also added to the BT blacklist. They can also set BT Call Protect to divert whole categories of calls, such as international calls or those from withheld numbers. The service will then prevent these types of calls from reaching the home by diverting them into the junk voicemail.

Colin Bannon, chairman of BT's West Midlands regional board, said: "This new service is great news for people in the Midlands. We know that nuisance calls are a big problem for people in our region, who receive many millions of such calls every year.

"Some of these calls can be upsetting and unnerving as well as very annoying, particularly for people who are more vulnerable perhaps through age or disability.

We take this issue very seriously and, as this important new service demonstrates, are determined to do everything we can to help our customers beat the problem."

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