FCC Releases Report and Order Extending STIR/SHAKEN to Gateway Providers

On May 20, 2022, the FCC released a Report and Order (“R&O”) adopting rules to extend robocall-related obligations to gateway providers, a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) that seeks comment on additional ways to address illegal robocalls, and an Order on Reconsideration that expands the prohibition on accepting calls from providers not listed in the Robocall Mitigation Database to include calls from foreign intermediate providers.

Report and Order

The R&O defines a “gateway provider” as “a U.S.-based intermediate provider that receives a call directly from a foreign originating provider or foreign intermediate provider at its U.S.-based facilities before transmitting the call downstream to another U.S.- based provider.”  This definition applies on a call-by-call basis.  These providers will be required to implement STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication to authenticate all unauthenticated foreign-originated Session Initiation Protocol (“SIP”) calls with US NANP numbers in the caller ID field by June 30, 2023.

In addition, once the R&O is effective, gateway providers will be required to mitigate illegal robocalls, regardless of whether they have implemented STIR/SHAKEN in the IP portions of their network, block illegal traffic when they receive notice from the FCC, and “know” their immediate upstream foreign provider from which they receive traffic with US numbers in the caller ID field.  Once the Office of Management and Budget approves the R&O, gateway providers will also be required to block calls based upon a reasonable Do-Not-Originate list, fully respond to traceback requests from the FCC, criminal law enforcement, and the industry traceback consortium within 24 hours, and submit a certification and mitigation plan in the Robocall Mitigation Database.

Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

In the FNPRM, the FCC seeks comment on further steps the FCC can take to battle illegal robocalls.  First, the FCC proposes to extend its caller ID authentication requirement to cover domestic intermediate providers that are not gateway providers in the call path and seeks comment on this proposal.  Second, the FCC seeks comment on extending certain robocall mitigation requirements to all domestic providers in the call path..  Third, the FCC seeks comment on additional measures to address illegal robocalls, including ways to enhance enforcement of the rules, clarifying certain aspects of STIR/SHAKEN, and placing limitations on the use of US NANP numbers for foreign originated calls and indirect number access.

Reconsideration Order

Currently, there is a requirement that prohibits intermediate providers and terminating voice service providers from accepting U.S. NANP calls directly from foreign-originating voice service providers that are not listed in the Robocall Mitigation Database.  There has been confusion in the industry surrounding calls directly received from foreign intermediate providers.  In the Reconsideration Order, the FCC expands the prohibition to include calls from not only foreign originating voice service providers but also foreign intermediate providers.  Therefore, once effective, domestic providers may only accept calls carrying U.S. NANP numbers sent directly from foreign-originating or intermediate providers that are listed in the Database.

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