Yesterday, the FCC unanimously voted to take additional steps to create a database of reassigned numbers to help companies verify the current subscriber of a phone number before calling it. Use of the database would be optional, but the FCC is offering a safe harbor from liability to anyone who uses it and later gets sued for calling the wrong person. The FCC's press release explained:
The new rules establish a single, comprehensive database with information provided by phone companies that callers will be able to use to avoid calling reassigned numbers. Callers using the database will be able to find out if telephone numbers assigned to consumers who want their calls have been disconnected and made eligible for reassignment. Any such numbers can then be purged from their call lists, thereby decreasing the number of unwanted calls to consumers. To further encourage callers to use the database, the Commission is providing callers a safe harbor from liability for any calls to reassigned numbers caused by database error.
The FCC will use a competitive bidding process to select an independent third-party administrator to manage the database. The administrator would be authorized "to establish the database by collecting start-up costs from providers" and "to fund operating costs through database usage charges." On a monthly basis, voice providers that receive North American Numbering Plan numbers and the Toll-Free Numbering Administrator would report information regarding permanently disconnected numbers to the database. The approved rule would require "a minimum aging period of 45 days before permanently disconnected telephone numbers can be reassigned."
You can read the FCC's press release here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-355526A1.pdf
You'll find additional comments and the proposed rule here: https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2018/12/december-2018-open-commission-meeting