FCC Looks to Expand STIR/SHAKEN to non-IP Phones

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced its first steps toward closing a “small but still important hole” in its robocall protection defense, launching a Notice of Inquiry into expanding the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication protocols for non-IP networks.

STIR/SHAKEN went into effect last year, requiring carriers to deploy technology that was built to combat the illegal spoofing of phone numbers and provide comfort to consumers that the numbers they see on their Caller IDs are legitimate and actually come from the people who are calling them. STIR/SHAKEN is estimated to be saving consumers as much as $3 billion per year by no longer wasting time answering nuisance calls or illegal robocalls.

But STIR/SHAKEN only went into effect for IP networks. Under the TRACED Act, carriers are responsible for taking “reasonable measures” to secure their non-IP networks, which the FCC has mandated, but it is now looking at taking the next step of implementing STIR/SHAKEN on non-IP networks.

The Notice of Inquiry seeks information about the prevalence of non-IP networks in use across the country and the impact that these networks have on robocall traffic. This includes the volume of calls on non-IP networks and whether that volume is increasing or decreasing, and information on the size of provider or business models where non-IP phones are used at a greater or lesser rate.

“… while STIR/SHAKEN has proven effective on networks that rely on Internet Protocol, it does
not work in the same way on older parts of our networks with traditional copper lines,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, the chair of the FCC, in a statement. “That is why we are kicking off this inquiry today. We are not just going to wait for this infrastructure to be updated and eligible for STIR/SHAKEN, we are going to look for ways to combat these calls on the oldest portions of our networks.”

Comments are due to the FCC by December 12.

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