AT&T and Comcast tout industry first to tackle robocalls

The call authentication test used the STIR/SHAKEN protocols to verify a call across the two voice provider’s landline networks. (Matthew Kane/CC0)

AT&T and Comcast have successfully completed a real-world call authentication test using the STIR/SHAKEN protocols across landline networks, which the two companies say could be an industry first.

The STIR/SHAKEN protocols were developed by industry groups ATIS and SIP Forum to tackle the issue of phone spamming and robocalls. The protocols use digital certificates to ensure the incoming phone number is coming from the proper device. Operators obtain a digital certificate from a third-party certificate authority, which is then used to ensure that a phone call is originating from a device that is registered to that number.

The call authentication test used the STIR/SHAKEN protocols to verify a call across the two voice provider’s networks. The test used phones on AT&T Phone digital home service and Comcast’s Xfinity Voice home phone service, conducted on March 5.

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ATIS launched theSecure Telephone Identity Governance Authority (STI-GA) late last year to support the deployment of the STIR/SHAKEN protocol and framework across the industry. AT&T and Comcast are both on the STI-GA board, and AT&T’s Linda Vandeloop chairs the board.

Following the successful test, AT&T and Comcast will be conducting similar tests with other providers’ systems, verifying that all the SHAKEN/STIR implementations are compatible The two companies said they will both begin offering authentication services on calls for customers later this year, including verification of calls coming from one another’s voice networks. AT&T has previously indicated that it will roll out the service to its wireless customers in 2019, as well.

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