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Security Concerns Raised

Industry Disagreement Continues on Mandating IP Caller Authentication Transition

Industry continued to urge the FCC to help facilitate the transition to fully IP-networks and Stir/Shaken caller ID authentication. In reply comments posted Tuesday in docket 17-97 (see 2212130065), some disagreed whether the transition should be mandated and how to treat existing non-IP networks.

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The FCC could promote solutions that "further the transition to fully IP networks" rather than "requiring industry to dedicate time and limited resources to a complementary caller ID authentication solution for non-IP networks," said Incompas. The group said a fully deployed Stir/Shaken framework is one of the "most prominent and widely-supported examples of the need for the IP transition" and "could offer significant consumer protection benefits." Verizon agreed, saying it would be "premature, unnecessary, and wasteful to require providers to retrofit legacy networks with specific methods of authentication for non-IP call traffic."

Focus on "streamlining the regulatory requirements delaying the replacement of legacy services with IP-based voice services," Verizon said, saying mandated transition to IP interconnection would "yield few, if any, benefits and would hinder the overall migration to IP-based service." A mandate is unnecessary because there are "clear indicators that Stir/Shaken is already working to reduce robocalls," said GCI Communication: "The rapid decrease in the number of subscribers on non-IP networks reveals the pace of the IP transition." The carrier said mandating ATIS standards "also risks undercutting the progress from imminent broadband deployments."

There are also "serious security risks inherent in the current non-IP call authentication solution proposals," said CTIA. The FCC is "under no obligation to act immediately" to adopt the proposed non-IP solutions because they don't meet Traced Act requirements, the group said, and promoting the transition to IP networks is "the most effective route to fully realizing ubiquitous call authentication."

Stir/Shaken is "an essential part of combating illegal scam robocalls," said TransNexus. Phasing out the non-IP Stir/Shaken implementation extension will "accelerate the IP transition," it said, which the Cloud Communications Alliance echoed in similar comments. The FCC should "require providers to either transition to IP or use one or more of the non-IP SHAKEN for TDM methods," TransNexus said. ATIS said its non-IP call authentication task force is "developing a new technical report that is examining the viability of operationalizing" non-IP call authentication standards. Its forthcoming report will also "call out any non-technical issues that may be associated with the previously developed standards," ATIS said.

There's "no existing solution for caller ID authentication in non-IP portions of the network that is ready to be deployed broadly today," said USTelecom, adding the FCC should be "wary" of calls to end the non-IP network extension "on the basis of out-of-band or in-band solutions." The "best solution to non-IP call authentication challenges is not an expensive mandate to retrofit legacy equipment that will soon be obsolete, but to take targeted steps to help facilitate the ongoing transition," the group said. NCTA agreed and said a non-IP authentication mandate would also be "counterproductive." It backed requiring large incumbent LECs to "accept traffic in IP from upstream IP voice providers and hand off traffic in IP ... when the next network in the call path is IP-based."