TransNexus Offers Robocall Prevention With STIR/SHAKEN

Man frowning receiving telemarketing robo call

Learn how we can restore the trust in phone calls

Alec Fenichel, Senior Software Architect at Transnexus, talks with TMC’s Editorial Director, Erik Linask, about robocalls and how the FCC is pushing for all carriers to implement a framework called Stir/Shaken. With STIR/SHAKEN, received calls will either come in with a green check, reassuring they are good, or they will be quickly blocked by your carrier if they are bad.

The FCC has not formally mandated an official timeframe that carriers need to address the issue by, but they have set their expectations for the end of 2019. California, on the other hand, has mandated it for the end of 2020. You can expect STIR/SHAKEN to be widely deployed in another six to 12 months. Besides focusing on robocall prevention, TransNexus is also working with Least Cost Routing and Total Fraud Prevention. 

Learn about the FCC’s timeline of the widespread implementation of STIR/SHAKEN with Alec Fenichel from TransNexus.

#Vectors2019 #SkySwitch #TransformCloudComm #TransNexus #Robocalls

Full Video Transcript Below

Erik Linask  0:07  

We’re here at day two of Vectors 2019 in Orlando. Joining me this morning, Alec Fenichel from TransNexus. Alec, great to have you here with us. 

Alec Fenichel  0:16  

It’s great to be here. 

Erik Linask  0:17  

So, we’re starting day two of this year’s event. What were your thoughts on day one? 

Alec Fenichel  0:23  

Well, you know, this is my first time coming to a Vectors and let’s put it this way, I’ll be coming back next year.

Erik Linask  0:28  

Excellent. We love hearing that. So, let’s talk about a topic that probably everybody knows, robocalls. How big of a problem is it these days?

Alec Fenichel  0:38  

It’s hard to say or put an exact number on it, but I get at least two calls a day. I hear the same thing from just about everybody. So it’s getting more and more attention. And I think the FCC is really starting to get a lot of complaints and that is their number one complaint by far. And so it’s been a lot of pressure on people to solve this problem. 

Erik Linask  0:57  

And how is the FCC reacting?

Alec Fenichel  1:00  

Well, you know, they’ve been slow. But really what they’re pushing is for all the carriers to implement a framework called STIR/SHAKEN. And this is a framework for signing telephone calls similar to the way HTTPS works on the web, to prevent spoofing, and that really is going to clamp down on some of these bad actors.

Erik Linask  1:15  

And so what is the end result for people that have been receiving all these calls?

Alec Fenichel  1:21  

A lot less robocalls, when you do get those calls, they’re going to come in with a green check saying they’re good, and those bad calls will be easily and quickly blocked by your carriers. So for consumers, you really won’t have to do anything.

Erik Linask  1:33  

That’s always good news for the consumer. What is it going to take for carriers to implement STIR/SHAKEN?

Alec Fenichel  1:40  

Well, I kind of equate it to a fax machine, having a fax machine when no one else has one is pretty useless. So it takes widespread adoption to be useful. But the FCC has been pretty clear, they expect all the tier one carriers to implement it by the end of this year. And we expect tier two and tier three to follow shortly thereafter. So by the end of 2020, we should see very widespread adoption and that will really cut back on the robocalls.

Erik Linask  2:04  

Is there any kind of a formal mandate as far as a timeframe or when carriers have to have addressed the situation by?

Alec Fenichel  2:12  

So the FCC has not formally mandated anything, they’ve set their expectations for the end of 2019 however, California has mandated it for the end of 2020. So any carriers with any presence in California will be required to implement STIR/SHAKEN by the end of 2020.

Erik Linask  2:26  

And do you anticipate similar situations happening nationwide?

Alec Fenichel  2:32  

California is definitely on the progressive side. So I’m not sure if other states will follow suit. And I don’t know that they need to, all the big carriers have some presence in California. So really, once one does it, you pretty much have to comply. It’s kind of like emissions. California does it, now you’re stuck there.

Erik Linask  2:49  

Fair enough. So aside from that, what else is going on at TransNexus?

Alec Fenichel  2:53  

Well, we’re still doing a lot of Least Cost Routing and Total Fraud Prevention and that hasn’t gone away, robocalling is just taking the driving seat from that.

Erik Linask  3:03  

And so what brought you here to Vectors 2019?

Alec Fenichel  3:07  

Yeah, I’m actually speaking about STIR/SHAKEN as well as other robocall prevention techniques. You know, STIR/SHAKEN is not going to be widely deployed for another six to 12 months. But there’s a lot that you can do today to stop robocalls as a carrier, or as a voice over IP provider. And so I’m going to talk about that as well as STIR/SHAKEN today.

Erik Linask  3:24  

So those kinds of topics are not only relevant to the big carriers, but to the voice over IP and UC providers as well.

Alec Fenichel 3:32  

Absolutely. If anything, it can be even more important to them because it really provides a mechanism where they can differentiate themselves from the other carriers.

Erik Linask  3:41  

And as far as implementation, it’s a similar situation with them, as with the carriers?

Alec Fenichel  3:46  

Yes, we have customers who get up and running in a week, under a week. It can be very quick, especially when you have a simpler network, single switch, it can be pretty simple.

Erik Linask  3:56  

Is this is something that VoIP providers are actively looking to do, or are you having to approach them? Or how is that, you know, relationship building?

Alec Fenichel  4:06  

Yeah, I think right now we’re doing a lot of education. A lot of people don’t know the tools that are out there. But once they learn about them, we get approached pretty regularly. In fact, we get approached on a daily basis from enterprises that are saying, “Please help me I need to stop these robocalls.” So there’s clearly a market out there for the Enterprise’s and we’re seeing some carriers are being proactive, and some are coming to us and saying I have a big enterprise that needs this feature, and I need to solve this for them or they’re going to find another carrier.

Erik Linask  4:33  

That certainly makes sense. I think we can all agree that we’d love to have a lot fewer if not absolutely zero robocalls. 

Alec Fenichel 4:41  

Absolutely. I can barely answer my phone anymore, it’s just non- stop.

Erik Linask  4:46  

We’re all on the same page. Alec, thank you so much for joining us enjoy the rest of your time here at Vectors.

Alec Fenichel  4:51  

Thank you. Thank you for having me.