AT & T and Comcast Announce "Anti-Call Milestone" with New Caller ID Technology

An AT & T logo
Enlarge / The AT & T logo is displayed at a store in Washington, DC on Monday, March 21st, 2011.

AT & T and Comcast announced today that they have successfully completed the inter-network test of a new Caller ID authentication system and planned to deploy this technology to consumers later this year.

AT & T and Comcast are among the telephone operators implementing the new "SHAKEN" and "STIR" protocols, which use digital certificates to verify that caller ID numbers are not falsified.

The announcement made today by AT & T / Comcast indicates that the operators have achieved "an exchange of authenticated calls between the voice networks of two separate providers, considered the first of the country". They called the test an "anti-fraud milestone".

SHAKEN and STIR will work best when all operators use it, as this would allow caller authentication when an operator's customer calls the customer from another. The technology can be used with mobile phone services and many home and business phones, but it is not compatible with legacy fixed telephony services that rely on TDM instead of IP.

SHAKEN / STIR is not a panacea

Caller authentication could ultimately help improve call blocking systems, but the AT & T / Comcast announcement did not promise new blocking capabilities. Caller Authentication allows call clients to know when a call is from a verified number.

"While authentication does not solve the problem of unwanted automated calls per se, it is a key step in giving customers greater trust and control over the calls they receive," he said. stated the companies. Calls that fail the SHAKEN / STIR test will still ring your phone, but they will not be marked as verified.

AT & T and Comcast's tests were conducted with the company's digital home phone services, but not with the old AT & T landlines.

"The test used phones on consumer networks of companies – not in a lab or limited to special equipment," the group said in an announcement. "It took place on March 5th between AT & T Phone's digital home service and Comcast's Xfinity Voice home phone service."

The test "helps pave the way for AT & T and Comcast to begin offering customers authentication of inter-network calls between them later this year," the announcement also announced. "Customers could soon start seeing verified calls not only from callers using the same provider, but more importantly, from other participating providers."

Comcast had previously indicated to the FCC that it would expand SHAKEN / STIR's call verification capability to all of its residential subscriber base by the end of March. 2019. AT & T has pledged this capacity in the second quarter of 2019. SHAKEN / STIR for voice-over network calls AT & T's mobile network is expected to follow in the third quarter of 2019.

AT & T and Comcast have stated that other carriers will soon be conducting their own tests. "In the coming months, leading service providers will conduct similar tests with their respective systems to verify that their SHAKEN / STIR implementations are compatible," they said.

Comcast plans expanded blocking

While AT & T and Comcast did not promise new blocking capabilities today, Comcast said in a November 2018 letter to the FCC that it "planned[s] begin deploying a centralized call blocking capability that appears to come from certain invalid and unallocated numbers. "This will help Comcast" block more automated fraudulent reminders "and" act quickly to add or delete numbers or number ranges to blocked when the need actually feels, "Comcast said.

Comcast is currently partnering with Nomorobo to provide blocking of blocked calls. AT & T said it offered "free and automatic network systems that already tag or block billions of unwanted or illegal automated calls". AT & T also offers free and payphone call blocking systems for its residential and mobile phone services.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, threatened "regulatory intervention" if the big telephone companies did not adopt SHAKEN and STIR this year. Most major US telephony providers are committed to doing so. The technology should also be adopted by operators in other countries to authenticate calls between US-based and international carriers.

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