By Simon Woodhead
We haven’t said much about the USA lately but we’ve been busy!
Tom, Cathy and the whole team there are doing amazing things. We’re now at 23 Licensed CLECs, i.e. we’re fully Licensed in 23 of 50 States with others progressing well. California, which is regarded as one of the hardest, would normally take 18 months with a large team. We believe we are a few weeks away, having started not even a year ago! Considering California alone has a GDP greater than the UK, and our US team so small, this is a monumental achievement. The level of paperwork processed for these is just immense!
That isn’t the only win. We were surprised and heartened to be welcomed by USTelecom / ITG – the industry leaders setting the standards for RoboCall Mitigation – which we hope to join. The welcome was because they knew Simwood from our long-standing work against VoIP Fraud. That was very touching and made me very proud!
But the big news is that on Friday we were set LIVE for STIR/SHAKEN, joining a small list of just 1% of operators (by number, not size). STIR/SHAKEN is the FCC’s initiative which requires calls to be signed on origination, and signatures to be verified on termination, in order to identify numbers being spoofed and ultimately to combat RoboCalls. Naturally, for this to work properly it requires only trusted parties be able to sign calls. Us being on that small list is a great achievement and demonstrates our commitment to making phone services trusted and indeed trustworthy!
Right now, we are not filtering calls that are unsigned or fail validation, because they represent the majority, but we are ready when the tipping point comes. We will however be using this data to further refine the call intelligence information we supply to eligible customers.
As you might expect, we have a few opinions on this process and whilst we totally support the intent, it does seem to be something of a money grab by a few people (for example, certificate authorities who will only sell you a certificate if you commit to a level of spend with their other irrelevant services), and magic box vendors who seem to have made this a very expensive upgrade. On balance, we believe it’ll shrink the market by being out of reach for many, but we stand ready to help rural and smaller operators (or anyone else struggling with it!) wherever we can.
Standby, lots more news to come from us in the US!