FCC CITES FAILURE TO ACHIEVE STIR/SHAKEN COMMITMENTS

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has taken “action to ensure that voice service providers meet their commitments and obligations to implement STIR/SHAKEN standards to combat spoofed robocall scams.” (https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-finds-two-providers-failed-fully-implement-stirshaken-0)

Specifically, the Bureau released an Order, dated February 17, 2022 (Order), pursuant to which two “voice service providers … [have] lost a partial exemption from STIR/SHAKEN because they failed to meet STIR/SHAKEN implementation commitments and [they] have been referred to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau for further investigation.”

As explained by the FCC’s News Release, “large providers were required to implement STIR/SHAKEN throughout the IP portions of their networks by June 30, 2021.” However, Congress, in the TRACED Act, directed that “providers that committed to and met early implementation goals in December 2020 were afforded certain conditional leniencies which grant them some level of flexibility while still requiring them to fully implement STIR/SHAKEN by June 30, 2021.”   A group of seven voice service providers submitted certifications and qualified for this flexibility so long as they fully implemented STIR/SHAKEN by the June 30, 2021 deadline.

In its Order, the Bureau noted that these qualifying providers were required to file STIR/SHAKEN “implementation verification certifications by October 4, 2021” and all seven did so.

However, upon review of those certifications, the Bureau found that one provider “did not achieve full implementation of STIR/SHAKEN… by its own admission, ‘has not yet completed all necessary network upgrades to support [STIR/SHAKEN] throughout its entire [IP] network.’” As to another provider, the Bureau concluded that it “also did not achieve full implementation because its certification reflects that it is not verifying caller ID information for all authenticated calls it receives as required ….[under] the Commission’s rules.”

As a result the Bureau stated that these providers did not achieve full implementation by June 30, 2021, they lose their exemptions and are subject to the requirements of section 64.6301(a) – requiring full STIR/SHAKEN implementation—upon release of this Order providing public notice. The Bureau also referred the two providers “to the Enforcement Bureau to closely monitor their compliance with the obligation to fully implement STIR/SHAKEN under section 64.6301(a) of the Commission’s rules.”

The FCC News Release quoted FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel: “‘We will not turn a blind eye to providers that have not done enough to protect consumers from spoofed robocalls….The FCC is keeping close watch as phone companies implement STIR/SHAKEN – a critical tool to help robocall blocking and consumer information. We will hold companies accountable if they fail to meet their commitments to protect consumers from robocalls.’”

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