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The Federal Communications Commission yesterday took action to address spam robocalls going to non IP-based networks.

Due to the underlying technology, STIR/SHAKEN’s caller ID authentication standards can only work on IP-based phone networks. So the regulator is starting to consider ways to combat illegally spoofed robocalls on non-IP networks.

STIR/SHAKEN standards has been shown to improve the accuracy of robocall blocking and consumer warning tools and aids enforcement officials in tracing spam calls to the originators, while also consumers with more reliable caller ID information.

The FCC has been aggressive in ensuring that carriers implement STIR/SHAKEN, going as far as taking enforcement actions that would prevent carriers that didn’t implement the standard from being able to complete voice calls.

For STIR/SHAKEN to work as designed, carriers place encrypted digital certificates on messages as they pass from network to network.  However, non-IP networks cannot add or maintain this digital information on calls.

According to the FCC, the action announced yesterday should move the FCC closer to achieving ubiquitous implementation of STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication, which is now a requirement for nearly all types of voice service.

The only exceptions are for facilities-based small service providers and providers that are unable to receive the certificate required to participate in STIR/SHAKEN. Those extensions run through June 30, 2023.

The Notice of Inquiry adopted yesterday seeks comment on the prevalence of non-IP technology in the country’s phone networks generally and the impact this technology has on the problem of illegal robocalls, an FCC press release outlines.

It also seeks input on alternative technological or policy solutions to enable caller ID authentication over non-IP networks, including two standards developed by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS):

  • Enabling non-IP providers to send and receive caller ID authentication information via the internet, on a separate track from the call itself
  • More information to be included with the call even on non-IP systems. 

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