Leatha Bazillion, Director, Voice Products – iBASIS
The Federal Communications Commission estimates that US consumers receive approximately 4 billion robocalls calls per month in 2022. Many of these calls are illegal, representing a significant contribution to the $40 billion loss that consumers face globally this year due to robocall scams, based on the latest Juniper Research study.
This is a staggering number that brings the effort to eradicate illegal robocalling to front and center in the telecom industry. So what is robocalling and what’s being done to combat this surging threat?
We should all be familiar with the format. Robocalls are phone calls or texts of pre-recorded messages broadcast across a large group of users. In many cases you’re expecting the call, or at least you’ve given the caller permission to reach you at some point previously, and the recorded messages provide useful information such as school emergencies, weather alerts, or utility shutdowns. Oftentimes, however, this method of reaching a wide audience is illegal, violating a variety of telemarketing regulations such as: not identifying the entity making the call, not providing a call back number, calling people who did not give prior consent, and in some cases, blatantly perpetuating consumer fraud.
To combat this crime against consumers in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finalized an order in May of this year that engages service providers worldwide and enlists the help of carriers like iBASIS, who are often the first point of entry for US traffic, or the ‘gateway’.
Service providers with end users are required to formally acknowledge the problem and describe their efforts to mitigate illegal robocalling by registering in the FCC’s Robocall Mitigation Database (RMD). The gateway carrier requirements are much more involved.
The mission is clear and simple: stop illegal robocalls from passing through your networks. Its execution is another story, fraught with complex requirements, significant expense in infrastructure upgrades, and finally the knowledge that if you do business in the US, no magic bullet guaranteeing 100% effectiveness in preventing illegal robocalls exists today.
iBASIS is meeting this challenge head on, collaborating in thought leadership with carrier peers worldwide to develop best practices within our organization that allow us to meet the new FCC requirements for gateway carriers while protecting our valuable MNO traffic streams into the United States.
Our primary goals are twofold—taking every reasonable effort to prevent illegal robocalling and limiting traffic disruption for our MNO partners around the world.
Starting in 2021, we began technical improvements to our routing platform to support future STIR/SHAKEN compliance and launched robust traceback procedures and STIR/SHAKEN Compliance Protocol for carriers. In 2022, we have upgraded policies and processes to address Traceback complaints more swiftly and sternly, are relaunching improved mitigation procedures, are introducing new “know your customer” certification, and are beginning the process of augmenting our network to support more robust analytics and authentication of calls.
iBASIS understands the difficulties that our carrier partners are facing in light of the STIR/SHAKEN ruling. To help those that have not implemented STIR/SHAKEN in their network, we provide carriers with personalized assistance in evaluating their robocalling mitigation practices by offering the STIR/SHAKEN Compliance Protocol. This includes analysis of technical and procedural capability to mitigate illegal robocalling as well as activities associated with Traceback Group cooperation.
To consult with iBASIS experts, please reach out to your account manager.
To register as a service provider or intermediary carrier, visit the FCC Robocall Mitigation Home Page and click on “Create Account” if you need a CORES account or an FRN (FCC Registration Number). Otherwise, just click “Log In”. The FCC filing instructions can be found here.
Discover more as iBASIS shares ideas and best practices on the industry virtual panel Robocalling: Preventing Illicit Foreign Voice Calling into the US at Capacity Europe 2022 (18-20 Oct, InterContinental London – The O2 Hotel).