Ever since the FCC got serious about robocalls, and decided to push for STIR/SHAKEN to authenticate caller ID, there’s been a ticking time-bomb for rural carriers.
As I wrote in February last year:
Any call that originated from an independent / competitive service provider’s network AND was routed to the RBOC via their SS7 interconnect could not be validated.
No smiley face. Or worse, maybe a sad face. Therefore the recipients would be much less likely to trust / answer calls from your subscribers. If you have business customers, this is very bad news.
The core problem is that caller ID can only be authenticated over end-to-end IP networks. Since AT&T, CenturyLink and others only offer tandem interconnect via SS7, this function is therefore unavailable to independent telcos who rely on these tandems. With no caller ID authentication, there’s a high chance that your calls will be blocked as likely spam.
I’ve been banging this drum for a while, and have discussed the issue with a couple of folks from the NTCA over the past 6 months – but I’ve been pretty pessimistic that it would do any good.
So I’m delighted to report that the NTCA have submitted a 6 page letter to the FCC, providing a well-thought out description of the issue and a suggested solution. I like how they’ve framed the core issue as a “reverse rural call completion problem“.
In fact the NTCA have identified 3 concerns for the FCC:
- A lack of IP interconnect with tandems will prevent (the legally mandated) effective implementation of STIR/SHAKEN.
- If we switch to IP interconnect we need to maintain the same established interconnect points (meet points) with carriers regardless of technology.
- The potential for the reverse call completion problem if this issue is not resolved.
What’s more, their letter proposes a simple solution – mandate that IP interconnect be offered without any other changes to the existing interconnect agreements. I like it.
Nevertheless, despite this important milestone, we still have less than 18 months (based on the TRACED Act) for:
- the FCC to define some clear rules forcing carriers to offer SIP trunks to tandems
- AT&T, CenturyLink and the other large carriers to offer SIP trunks to everyone
- rural carriers to migrate to these SIP trunks and implement STIR/SHAKEN in their networks.
Does that timeline sound plausible?
Not a chance. But if the FCC listens to the NTCA’s concerns, then hopefully they’ll start down the path, and we’ll see an extension to the deadlines in the TRACED Act to allow this process to play out.
If you’re trying to figure out how to implement STIR/SHAKEN in your network, check out my previous post about the TRACED Act and consider our Project Guidance service if you’d like us to walk you through the process.