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REGULATORS GIVE PHONE COMPANIES NEW TOOLS TO FIGHT ROBOCALLS

Federal regulators voted Thursday to give phone companies the right to block unwanted calls without getting customers’ permission first.

The Federal Communications Commission’s move could make call-blocking widespread and help consumers dodge annoying robocalls.

The agency expects phone companies to offer these tools for free, but it doesn’t require them to. Consumers can also “opt out” and ask their company not to block anything.

As the robocall problem has grown, Congress is taking steps, too. But political gridlock could derail bills aimed at beefing up enforcement and forcing phone companies to do more.

The companies have been

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