What’s Next for the TRACED Act? Part II: 2021 and Beyond

What’s Next for the TRACED Act? Part II: 2021 and Beyond

September 21st, 2020 - Telecom, Identity and Protection

By Paul Florack, Vice President of Product Management, TNS

As discussed in Part I of this series, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was signed into law December 30, 2019 – aiming to provide the FCC and law enforcement officials with new abilities to quickly combat scammers and reduce fraudulent robocall schemes.

In recent years, the FCC has become more adamant that telecom carriers adopt policies and procedures to better protect consumers from potentially dangerous robocalls. Now with the TRACED Act in place, there is a set plan of action for government and industry alike. One of the most recent developments came in September when the FCC in their Second Order and Report took the next steps towards STIR/SHAKEN implementation. The Order is consistent with Congress’s direction in the TRACED Act and requires voice service providers to either upgrade their non-IP networks and implement STIR/SHAKEN by June 30, 2021 or work to develop a non-IP authentication solution.

Specifically, the FCC will vote on the following in their September open meeting:

  • Requirement for voice service providers to either upgrade their non-IP networks to IP and implement STIR/SHAKEN, or work to develop a non-IP caller ID authentication solution.
  • Establishment of extensions to the June 30, 2021 caller ID authentication implementation deadline for small voice service providers, voice service providers that are currently incapable of obtaining a “certificate” necessary to implement STIR/SHAKEN, services scheduled for discontinuance, and non-IP networks.
  • Requirement for voice service providers subject to an extension to implement a robocall mitigation program on the non-STIR/SHAKEN-enabled portions of their networks.
  • Requirement for all voice service providers to file a certification in a Commission database showing how they are acting to stem the origination of illegal robocalls.
  • Establishment of a process by which providers that make early progress on caller ID authentication implementation can obtain an exemption from the June 30, 2021 deadline, as required by the TRACED Act.
  • Prohibiting voice service providers from adding any line item charges to the bills of consumer or small business customer subscribers for caller ID authentication technology, as required by the TRACED Act.
  • Requirement for intermediate providers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication framework in the IP portions of their networks by June 30, 2021.

Most significantly, the FCC will grant a two-year extension for small voice service providers, defined as those carriers with 100,000 or fewer voice subscriber lines (counting the total of all business and residential fixed subscriber lines and mobile phones and aggregated over all of the provider’s affiliates).

In addition, voice service providers have been given the flexibility to decide the specifics of what an effective robocall mitigation program should be – one that best suits the needs of their networks and customers. These steps will ensure that the only voice traffic to traverse voice networks in the US will be from those voice service providers that have either fully implemented STIR/SHAKEN on their entire networks or that have implemented a robocall mitigation program on those portions of their networks that are not STIR/SHAKEN-enabled.

As stated in our last blog, there is still work to do for the FCC in 2020, which you can review here. While significant progress has been made, work is far from done and the FCC is already looking ahead to 2021. Here are key TRACED Act dates for 2021 and beyond:

  • By June 23, 2021:
    • Conclude a proceeding to assess the extent to which the voluntary adoption of the Hospital Robocall Protection Group’s suggested best practices can be facilitated to protect hospitals and other institutions
  • By June 30, 2021:
    • The FCC must require:
      • IP Networks to implement STIR/SHAKEN.
      • Non-IP Networks to take “reasonable measures to implement effective call authentication framework.”
    • Promulgate rules to establish a process that “streamlines” the ways in which private entities may voluntarily share information related to illegal or spoofed calls or texts with the FCC.
    • Submit to Congress a report on the results of an FCC-led study regarding whether it should require a VoIP provider to:
      • Provide to the FCC the VoIP provider’s contact information and keep such information current; and
      • Retain records of each call transmitted that are sufficiently detailed so that the call’s source may be traced.
  • By December 30, 2022, and every three years thereafter:
    • The FCC must submit a report to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that:
      •  Assesses the efficacy of call authentication frameworks; and
      • Based on that assessment, revises or replaces the call authentication frameworks if the FCC determines it is in the public interest to do so.

To help carriers of all sizes meet the demands of the new legislation, TNS and Metaswitch  offer the Call Guardian Authentication Hub, a fully managed service that allows carriers to quickly and economically go-to-market with a robocall prevention solution. Call Guardian Authentication Hub combines the TNS Call Guardian analytics and robocall detection technology with Metaswitch’s STIR/SHAKEN-compliant MetaSphere QCall solution that enables inter-carrier calls to be authenticated and validated.

For North American carriers interested in getting started today and signing calls leveraging the Call Guardian Authentication Hub, please visit here.

Paul Florack is Vice President of Product Management for TNS’ Telecom Markets business, including the development and management of solutions across both core signaling and database services, as well as mobility solutions. He can be contacted via solutions@tnsi.com.

Find details for your appropriate TNS representative on our contact page