Fifty-one state AGs ask FCC to shorten SHAKEN extension

Fifty-one state attorneys general filed reply comments with the FCC urging the Commission to shorten the SHAKEN extension for certain small voice service providers. They called the Commission’s proposed rulemaking a good starting point and urged them to take it further.

FCC proposed rulemaking

In paragraph 40 of the Second Order on SHAKEN, (Docket WC 17-97), the Commission granted a two-year extension on the SHAKEN mandate to service providers with fewer than 100,000 subscriber lines.

In their Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on SHAKEN, the Commission proposed to shorten this deadline extension from two years to one for the “subset of small voice providers that are at a heightened risk of originating an especially large amount of robocall traffic.”

The FNPRM proposed two ways to define this subset of small providers:

  1. 500 calls per day from a single line
  2. Service providers that receive more than half their revenue from customers purchasing non-mass market services.

Fifty-one state AGs respond

The attorneys general from every state, and Washington D.C., joined in signing their reply comments. In their comments, the attorneys general:

  1. Agree with the Commission’s conclusion that “a subset of small voice service providers are more often responsible for illegal robocalls.”
  2. Describe the proposal to shorten the extension by one year “a good starting point.”
  3. Strongly encourage the Commission to require this subset of small voice providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN as soon as possible.

With their third point, the attorneys general cite the comments of Incompas, which urged the Commission to require small providers subject to enforcement action for originating illegal robocalls to implement SHAKEN within 90 days from the date of the enforcement action.

people discussing things

Our thoughts

We agree that robocalls continue even after the SHAKEN deadline. We also agree that SHAKEN call authentication is part of the solution.

However, we do not believe that either shortening the deadline for this subset of providers or requiring SHAKEN deployment as part of robocall enforcement actions will accomplish the objective.

Why? Two reasons:

  1. SHAKEN provides call authentication. It does not detect or prevent illegal robocalls. For that, you need call analytics, a.k.a., robocall mitigation. SHAKEN and call analytics work well together. Neither is sufficient by itself.
  2. Some small providers are still originating illegal robocalls, but with a difference. They get their calls signed with partial attestation by downstream providers. We’ve reported this in our recent blog post, Who should sign SHAKEN calls? These providers claim they are already doing SHAKEN. Rule changes in the Third FNPRM wouldn’t make any difference.

So what would work?

  1. Expand SHAKEN usage. The new standards on non-IP call authentication provide ways to do that.
  2. Require robocall mitigation. The Fourth Report and Order comes close, but isn’t quite there yet.
  3. Address the issue with downstream providers signing calls with their own credentials on behalf of upstream providers who claim they have implemented SHAKEN. This loophole needs to be closed.

TransNexus solutions

We offer STIR/SHAKEN and robocall mitigation solutions in our ClearIP and NexOSS software platforms. We can make your STIR/SHAKEN deployment a smooth process.

In addition, we help service providers with all aspects of STIR/SHAKEN deployment, including registering with the Policy Administrator and filing their certification with the FCC.

Contact us today to learn more.

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