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UK ISP BT Finally Launches Free Service to Cull Nuisance Phone Calls

Monday, January 16th, 2017 (12:01 am) - Score 1,926

It’s been nearly a year since BT first soft launched their new ‘BT Call Protect‘ service to tackle nuisance calls (here), which allows their home phone customers to divert unwanted calls to a junk voicemail box. The good news is that the “first of its kind in the UK” service is finally available to use.

The new system will work by using powerful computers to analyse large amounts of live data, enabling BT’s network experts in Oswestry to identify rogue numbers (i.e. those that make enormous numbers of calls) and add them to a special blacklist.

Customers will also be able to identify troublesome numbers (i.e. they can add a number simply by dialling 1572 after receiving the call or by going online) and get them added to the list. On top of that they’ll be able to make their own personal blacklist, which will include the ability to nominate whole categories of calls to be blocked (international calls, withheld numbers etc.).

In keeping with this BT and Censuswide have also surveyed 2,001 adults in England, Scotland and Wales to discover more about the impact of nuisance calls, which found that on average people receive 4 nuisance calls a week and 60% of respondents find nuisance calls stressful. The majority of people said they most frequently receive nuisance calls in the pm (59%), with the most common time being 4.35pm.

BT has also published their nuisance call figures for the seven days running from 13th to 19th December 2016, which helps to illustrate the worst nuisance callers by category.

Top 5 Worst Nuisance Callers (Category)
Category Volume Proportion
1 Accident claims 12,288,022 39%
2 PPI 2,903,946 9%
3 Computer scam 2,673,665 9%
4 Personal data request (Scam) 1,434,890 5%
5 Silent calls 987,989 3%
Other 10,917,635 35%
Total 31,206,396

BT believes that it’s system will probably end up diverting nearly 15 million calls a week and that’s just from personal accident claims and PPI companies.

John Petter, CEO of BT Consumer, said:

“We’re declaring war on the companies that regularly pester our customers with nuisance calls on subjects such as PPI and personal accident claims. We’re giving our customers the means to fight back against the millions of unwanted calls for free.

We’ve been at the forefront of equipping our customers to defend themselves against the huge numbers of PPI and unwanted marketing calls that are continuing to grow. Now, with our unique technology, we can identify and tackle huge numbers of those calls in the network and also give our customers control over the calls they receive.

We’re leading the way and calling on other telecoms companies to up their game in the fight against this menace.”

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said:

“Nuisance callers are a terrible blight on society and Government and industry are working together to crack down on them. We’ve forced companies to display their numbers when they call you, made it easier to prosecute those involved in making the calls, and increased the maximum fines up to £500,000. We welcome BT’s new service, which offers customers an additional level of protection, helping them to fight back against this ongoing harassment.”

We should point out that BT are just one of several telecoms providers to have signed Ofcom’s related Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Nuisance Calls, which commits them and others to develop new technical measures for “reducing the impact of unlawful nuisance calls on consumers“.

The other participating providers include: TalkTalk, EE, Sky Broadband, Gamma Telecom, Virgin Media, Vodafone, Three UK, KCOM and O2. Some providers, such as TalkTalk, have already developed a variety of protection measures.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. alan says:

    So does this work with a Withheld or International nuisance call ?

    1. Gordon says:

      NO and that is a flaw. If you have BT caller withheld you will have to remember to dial 1470 to any number that may auto block withheld numbers.

  2. Kits says:

    You don’t need to move to BT for this type of protection just buy one of the BT nuisance call phones one that blocks 100% like I did not had a nuisance cal since I plugged it in. I have the BT8600 for a one off payment £39.99 Argos but shop around might find it cheaper, works great on my BT WLR line that costs £13 a month instead of nearly £20.

  3. Optimist says:

    I’ve found a call blocking device very effective for the past couple of years.

  4. captain cretin says:

    This is far too little, far, far too late.

    1. TheFacts says:

      What would you propose? See the Ofcom document.

    2. brianv says:

      Pathetic effort, isn’t it. Mant of the auto diallers are spoofing CLID. Different number every call. Local dialling code to foil any block. This “remedy” is quite useless against that.

    3. AndyH says:

      Another BT story seems the re-emergence of the BT trolls…

  5. captain.cretin says:


    BT should ban the use of CLID spoofing and perma-ban phone access to not only anyone caught doing it, but any UK company caught buying the service from a 3rd party.
    Ditto the mobile companies.

    But they wont, they make too much money out of it.

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