On March 30, 2021, the Wireline Competition Bureau (“WCB”) issued an Order denying United States Cellular Corporation (“U.S. Cellular”) and Verizon Communications, Inc.’s (“Verizon”) petitions for extension of the June 30, 2021 STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication framework implementation deadline.

 

U.S. Cellular’s petition requested an extension for its VoLTE/IP Multimedia Subsystem (“IMS”) network for an indefinite period of time because it has not yet completed interconnection with carriers with which it has a SIP interconnection agreement.  U.S. Cellular has, however, managed to implement STIR/SHAKEN on its intra-network VoLTE calls and for inter-carrier calls on its IP network.  The WCB denied U.S. Cellular’s petition because the FCC’s rules “do not require complete implementation of IP interconnection with other IP-enabled providers by the June 30, 2021 deadline.”  Thus, the WCB concluded U.S. Cellular’s request was unnecessary.

 

Verizon’s petition sought a declaratory ruling that its FTTP-SIP platform is not an IP network that is required to comply with STIR/SHAKEN.  The WCB declined to make such a declaration because the FCC has not previously determined what networks constitute an IP network.  In addition, Verizon’s petition sought an extension of time to implement STIR/SHAKEN on its FTTP-SIP network because it would take extensive retrofitting to make the necessary changes by June 2021, which would risk harming customer connectivity and potentially be unachievable by the deadline.  The WTB denied this request because Verizon failed to demonstrate that it faces undue hardship as required by the TRACED Act.  Verizon failed to support its claims that there would be network outages or completing the project would be unachievable, and the WTB found Verizon’s barebones allegations to be insufficient to support its request.

 

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