April 13, 2022

FCC Cites 2 Voice Providers for STIR/SHAKEN Non-Compliance

STIR/SHAKEN — the FCC's framework for fighting nuisance robocalls — has been a legal requirement for phone carriers and voice service providers since June 30, 2021. Eight months later, some companies have still not implemented this technology. Now the FCC is issuing citations for failing to achieve STIR/SHAKEN compliance. 

FCC Cites Voice Service Providers for Failing STIR/SHAKEN Compliance

Learn more about these citations below, how STIR/SHAKEN benefits consumers and businesses, and the importance of call compliance in your organization. 

Citations Issued for Voice Service Providers

The FCC mandated that carriers and voice providers implement STIR/SHAKEN protocols last year, although the government agency extended the deadline for some smaller companies. Now, two voice providers have received citations for STIR/SHAKEN compliance. 

On Feb. 17, 2022, the FCC referred Bandwidth Inc. and Vonage Holdings to the organization's Enforcement Bureau because they didn't comply with its regulations on preventing robocalls. It seems the FCC will no longer tolerate companies that fail to implement STIR/SHAKEN standards across their networks.

Note: Bandwidth says it is working to move traffic off its legacy equipment so it can comply with STIR/SHAKEN protocols in the future.  

"We will not turn a blind eye to providers that have not done enough to protect consumers from spoofed robocalls," says FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. "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."

Robocalls are still an enormous problem in the United States. One study predicted Americans would receive around 51 billion of these nuisance calls by the end of 2021 — up from 46 billion in 2020. Law enforcement often can't stop robocalls because so many live abroad, meaning crimes are outside their jurisdiction.

What Being STIR/SHAKEN Compliant Means for Other Companies

Since implementing STIR/SHAKEN, many companies are aware of the framework but don't know how to make their calls compliant. Companies that communicate with customers over the phone (such as contact centers) should always use trusted voice service providers that adhere to STIR/SHAKEN. Doing so can help in the ongoing fight against robocalls and ensure their dialing operations don't experience service interruptions.

It's still unclear whether STIR/SHAKEN will stop nuisance calls for good. However, voice service providers are working with the FCC to identify bad actors. This collaboration is compiling a database of bad actors. These efforts emphasize the importance of businesses to work with reputable voice service providers when conducting outbound dialing.

How Attestation Plays a Role

One of the most vital points of the STIR/SHAKEN framework is how voice providers can grade and evaluate call legitimacy. It does by determining the origination of an outgoing call and blocking callers if this authentication fails.

STIR/SHAKEN also protects almost everyone with a smartphone. It lets call receivers verify that an incoming caller is genuine and is phoning from the same number that displays on their caller ID. A person's phone screen will now display a "verified call" label when STIR/SHAKEN identifies a caller.

All of this can have multiple benefits for companies that make outbound calls. By verifying calls, STIR/SHAKEN can improve answer rates and increase consumer confidence when answering the phone. That can help companies get through to more customers, generate more sales, and improve engagement.

"This implementation allows customers to answer the phone with confidence that the person on the other end of the line is who the caller says they are," says RingCentral. "Additionally, implementing STIR/SHAKEN will benefit the entire telecommunications industry as people regain confidence in the phone networks and bad actors are pushed out."

Why is Call Compliance Important?

Compliance is critical in any sector; however, STIR/SHAKEN compliance is essential because consumers are often wary of picking up the phone. With robocalls on the rise, this framework can alleviate the concerns of call recipients who don't want to answer a call from a bad actor. 

Robocalls have changed the way many businesses operate. Companies should avoid placing high volumes of cold calls because these calls are more likely to be flagged as 'spam'. Instead, companies that rely on calling customers need to invest in more ethical communication practices. Make sure your caller ID information is up to date, and, ultimately, comply with standards such as STIR/SHAKEN.

Through proper copmliance and transparency, consumers are more likely to answer their phones. Companies can engage more successfully with their customers again.

Working With STIR/SHAKEN Compliant Partners

The FCC has cited two voice service providers for failing to achieve STIR/SHAKEN compliance. This suggests the organization will no longer tolerate providers that don't adhere to the technology framework. Therefore, companies in all sectors should work with reputable and compliant voice providers. In doing so, these efforts will reduce the growing problem of robocalls.

Additionally, consumers will regain their confidence in the telecommunications industry. This means consumers will be more willing to answer calls from companies like yours.

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