January 19, 2022

FCC Moves Up STIR/SHAKEN Deadline: What It Means for Voice Service Providers

FCC Moves Up STIR/SHAKEN Deadline: What It Means for Voice Service Providers

The FCC introduced STIR/SHAKEN in order to crack down on spoofed spam calls. The goal was to better equip voice service providers (VSPs) to handle spammers, scammers, and other bad actors. 

The problem is, STIR/SHAKEN’s rollout hasn’t been flawless. The deadline for major carriers to comply has come and gone, and the phone spam problem persists. In fact, the percentage of spam calls utilizing spoofed caller IDs was greater in the six months following the deadline than it was in the six months prior to it.

With an urgency to address the influx of robocalls, the FCC is pulling forward the deadline for small VSPs to satisfy FCC regulations. If you’re a small carrier (100,000 subscriber lines or fewer), you now only have until June 30, 2022 to comply with STIR/SHAKEN. 

That means the clock is ticking for those that haven’t yet gotten themselves up to code.

More than just being annoying, spam calls lead to significant damages — in fact, 2021 saw financial losses to robocalls hit the $30 billion mark. The sooner all VSPs fully adopt the STIR/SHAKEN framework, the sooner we can silence robocallers and mitigate everyone’s losses to scams.

If you haven’t implemented a robocall mitigation program ahead of the STIR/SHAKEN deadline, contact RoboKiller Enterprise. Read ahead and find out what you need to know about the new cutoff and what it means for VSPs of all sizes.

Overview of STIR/SHAKEN

STIR/SHAKEN — which stands for Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) — is the FCC’s protocol for how VSPs must handle robocalls. It requires carriers to certify with the Robocall Mitigation Database that they’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure they are not originating spam calls on their voice networks.

When you certify your VSP with the database, you’ll detail exactly what you’re doing to stop unwanted voice traffic, like using caller ID authentication or implementing a more comprehensive robocall mitigation program. Since the STIR/SHAKEN framework only functions on Internet Protocol (IP) networks, providers with older network technology are required to upgrade or find a caller ID solution that does not require an IP network.

In the words of the FCC:

“Implementation of caller ID authentication technology — specifically, the framework known as STIR/SHAKEN — reduces the effectiveness of illegal spoofing, allowing law enforcement to identify bad actors more easily, and help voice service providers identify calls with illegally spoofed caller ID information before those calls reach their subscribers.”

This sounds like an effective and multi-pronged defense against threatening robocalls, and ultimately it may be; unfortunately, not everyone has bought in just yet.

STIR/SHAKEN implementation timeline

The response to STIR/SHAKEN has been underwhelming thus far. As of September, merely one-third of the largest phone companies had implemented the standard.

This has prompted the FCC to make adjustments to its timeline, significantly curtailing the initial extension it afforded to smaller carriers. 

Take a look at the timeline as of the end of 2021:

  • March 31st, 2020: The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act sets a June 30th, 2021 deadline for all major VSPs to comply with STIR/SHAKEN. Smaller carriers are given a deadline of June 30th, 2023. 
  • April 20th, 2021: The FCC launches its Robocall Mitigation Database.
  • June 30th, 2021: All major VSPs are required to comply with STIR/SHAKEN, and VSPs and intermediates are prohibited from accepting calls from other VSPs not listed in the database starting September 28th, 2021.
  • December 10th, 2021: The FCC accelerates the compliance timeline, shifting the cutoff for smaller providers up by a year: “With today’s action, small voice service providers that are not facilities-based will now be required to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the IP portions of their networks no later than June 30, 2022.”

Pushing up the deadline by a full year is a sign that we need to get phone scams under control now. The sooner all VSPs are up to speed, the sooner everyone benefits.

What this means for VSPs

The FCC’s deadline shift is a testament to the urgency of solving phone spam. VSPs are suddenly faced with a truncated period of time to get up to code, which is a difficult task to take on alone. Now is the time to talk to the professionals about a secure and effective robocall mitigation program.

A comprehensive robocall mitigation program relies on an array of different parts working in unison. One might include a combination of:

  • Blocklists: These are exactly what they sound like: registers of phone numbers that have been associated with spams, scams, and fraudulent activity.
  • Caller ID reputation: Based on real-time data and feedback, caller ID reputations categorize the trustworthiness of incoming calls into positive, negative, and neutral camps.
  • Dynamic traffic analysis: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are used to analyze call patterns. Red flags include high volume and low duration of calls, indicating a lot of very brief conversations.
  • Call screening: There’s more to call screening than simply ignoring calls from numbers you don’t recognize; audio CAPTCHAs are one method that slows down scammers’ operations.

Not all robocall mitigation programs are the same, and the FCC requires you to detail the steps you’re taking to eliminate robocalls when you certify with the database. In order to fully comply with government regulations and be effective in the fight against fraudulent calls, you’ll need an air-tight program — RoboKiller Enterprise can help.

Additional steps to take

Complying with the FCC’s STIR/SHAKEN mandate may prove to be essential in the fight against spam and fraudulent phone calls, but there’s more to be done to help the cause.

1. Provide increased visibility

Combating spam requires a unified effort, so everyone has to be on the same page with their preparation. By sharing and discussing the specific steps they’re taking to squash spam, voice providers and phone carriers can help each other build on their efforts.

2. Encourage compliance internationally 

The FCC only has influence over its own jurisdiction, but STIR/SHAKEN shouldn’t be limited to American phone lines. If international service providers based outside of US borders adopt this standard, we should see a more complete effect.

As more domestic and foreign VSPs adopt STIR/SHAKEN, we’ll get a better idea of its impact.

Why your business needs Robokiller Enterprise

When it comes to achieving FCC compliance, your best bet is to let the professionals handle it. RoboKiller Enterprise grants you invaluable peace of mind while ensuring your business is fully up to code.

Don’t hesitate to visit the Robokiller Enterprise website and start your FREE 7-day trial.

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