WCB Releases Annual Report to Congress on Caller ID Authentication Implementation Progress

On December 29, 2020, the Wireline Competition Bureau (“the Bureau”) released its annual Report to Congress on Progress made by voice service providers to implement caller ID authentication technology, as required by the TRACED Act.

 

The Bureau reported on the following items:

 

  • Exemption Determinations: The Bureau received eight exemption certifications from voice service providers.  Seven (AT&T Services, Inc. (AT&T),44 Bandwidth Inc. (Bandwidth), Charter Communications, Inc. (Charter), Comcast Cable Communications, LLC (Comcast), Cox Communications, Inc. (Cox), Cellco Partnership, d/b/a Verizon Wireless (Verizon Wireless), and Vonage Holding Corp (Vonage)) were granted on the basis that each certified to meeting implementation benchmarks.  One (Nsight, who filed a joint certification on behalf of eight providers) was denied because it failed to meet either prong of the non-IP exemption.
  • Caller ID Authentication Implementation Progress:
    • Implementation of STIR/SHAKEN in IP Networks:  The Bureau reports that 72 voice service providers are authorized to participate in STIR/SHAKEN through the governance system and  9 providers have upgraded or are in the process of upgrading their networks to support STIR/SHAKEN and are exchanging signed traffic.  The Bureau also reports that a number of providers have implemented STIR/SHAKEN but have not yet begun exchanging authenticated traffic and that a few providers have not yet implemented STIR/SHAKEN, but are in the process of doing so.
    • Implementation of Caller ID Authentication in Non-IP Networks: The Bureau reports that a Caller ID Authentication framework is not yet effective because no standardized solution has been implemented.  Industry continues to work on a solution and has sought contributions from members which fall into two broad categories; a solution that operates out-of-band, and a solution that works in-band on TDM technology.
  • Impact of Equipment Availability: The Bureau reports that in response to a Public Notice seeking comment on whether necessary equipment and equipment upgrades are available to implement caller ID authentication solutions, no comments were received suggesting there were any issues or that availability issues had an impact on implementation.  In a later FNPRM, the Bureau received comments that small providers may face issues, and thus concluded that equipment availability may pose hurdles to the deployment of STIR/SHAKEN.
  • Efficacy of Caller ID Authentication Frameworks: The Bureau reports that it cannot fully comment on the efficacy of STIR/SHAKEN at this time because it has not been widely implemented.  It does report that there is broad industry consensus that STIR/SHAKEN is well designed, and, where implemented, is working as intended and is a useful tool in reducing instances of illegal robocalls, informing labeling, and conducting tracebacks.  The Bureau cannot report on the efficacy of non-IP caller ID authentication framework because there is no industry standard yet.

 

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