Revolt STIR/SHAKEN Certificate
~ Zach Rodgers, Business Owner, Revolt Voice & PC
~ Tony Lewis, CEO – ClearlyIP
Having your own telecommunications company is a dream for some people. Zach Rodgers, the owner of Revolt Voice and PC, is one of those people, but Zach managed to make that dream a reality.
Zach started as a specialist in Infrastructure Technology based in Winder, Georgia. His business rapidly grew from supporting IT requirements for local businesses, to all-inclusive telecom services as a complimentary service to their network infrastructure design and support. Offering business telecom services to his clients and allowing those clients to grow along with his company, he expanded the business offerings as a seamless way to scale his business.
There are obstacles to overcome for every dream, and a new FCC initiative presented a new and challenging obstacle for Revolt Voice and PC’s telecom business STIR/SHAKEN.
If you’re unfamiliar with STIR/SHAKEN, ClearlyIP has done several blogs and webinar events on the subject, and they are all available on our website. To summarize, for those that are unfamiliar, STIR/SHAKEN is a technology framework designed to prevent and reduce fraudulent robocalls and illegal phone number spoofing. Spoofing is when the caller has intentionally changed the caller id number displayed to the called recipient STIR = Secure Telephony Identity Revisited. SHAKEN = Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs. The FCC adopted rules requiring service providers to deploy a STIR/SHAKEN solution last year on June 30, 2021.
So why would STIR/SHAKEN affect Revolt Voice and PC’s business? That’s where it gets complicated. To comply with the new STIR/SHAKEN requirements, telecom providers must first determine if they are an originating service provider. Those who are confirmed must get authorization and obtain a specialized Certificate to sign their customer’s calls.
The definition of an originating service provider to put it more simply, any telecom provider selling, servicing, and hosting/supporting telecommunication phone lines and voice traffic to end users.
Voice Service Providers that qualify as telecommunications carriers from whose network a customer originates voice traffic are required by law to follow the guidelines to be STIR/SHAKEN compliant. So STIR/SHAKEN applies to most unified communications-as-a-service providers facilitating voice traffic and billing for such service.
It is a challenging process to obtain the STIR/SHAKEN Certificate. Furthermore, the ever-increasing requirements of ongoing compliance and tax remittance once you are registered is a significant undertaking. It creates a dilemma for telecom resellers, as was the case for Revolt Voice and PC. Zach’s company was identified as an originating service provider, and he had the decision to make; he could either stay the course in offering clients voice connectivity and follow the strict guidelines to be compliant. Alternatively, he could align himself with a larger carrier to take over hosting his client’s voice traffic and take over the billing. There are pros and cons to each direction.
The pros of remaining an originating service provider and becoming STIR/SHAKEN compliant are that the business keeps the customer’s all-inclusive telecom services and revenue. Plus, it is beneficial to the customer to have a one-stop shop and not have to deal with various vendors for different pieces of a telecom solution. The con is that it is an ever-increasing logistical nightmare for the provider of compliance with telecom rules, tax collection and remittance, and ongoing regulations that are often too much of a burden for small or medium telecom business.
All originating service providers need certification to sign their calls with an attestation grade. Attestation grades reflect the authenticity of the originating call. Odds are, when you get a call about your car’s extended warranty, it’s not really coming from where the number on your caller ID indicates. By attesting to the fact that a call is authenticated, the number of spoofed calls should significantly decrease.
Due to the complexity of the process to be STIR/SHAKEN compliant, the telecom industry has recently seen a significant shift, with small and medium telecom resellers aligning with a larger carrier to take over the hosting or facilitating of their customer’s calls with their carrier Certificate. Once the migration is done to the larger carrier with STIR/SHAKEN in place, the phone calls are verified and signed using digital Certificates so spoofed calls can be identified and displayed on caller ID or detected and stopped before they reach consumers.
THE SOLUTION BY CLEARLYIP
In Zach’s case, he decided to follow the process, register as an originating service provider, and obtain his STIR/SHAKEN Certificate. Zach will be the first to admit the downside was that it was a very confusing, time-consuming, and lengthy process (taking 2+ months). Still, one that he feels was worth the effort in the end, as he can continue supporting his existing and new customers and retain hosting/billing for their voice calls. A solution he worked hard to develop and implement and wanted to maintain.
Once Zach obtained his Certificate, he provided it to ClearlyIP as the SIP Trunking Carrier and backbone for Revolt’s customer’s voice traffic. The first step was that ClearlyIP checked the Certificate to ensure it was valid. ClearlyIP assisted in the testing, correcting & verifying process to confirm the validity of his Certificate. The valid Certificate was then assigned appropriately and verified by the token for signing the his customer calls. Verification is an important step; ClearlyIP does not simply accept a Certificate from a provider as is; it is tested to ensure it is valid.
The next step was to apply Revolt’s Certificate to their customer’s trunking within the ClearlyIP infrastructure and sign the client calls with Revolt’s STIR/SHAKEN Certificate. There is no need for Revolt or any Partner to have its own session border controller (SBC) or call router equipment. Everything is done on the backend of the ClearlyIP equipment. So the need for an SBC by a Partner is eliminated. Simply provide your STIR/SHAKEN Certificate, and ClearlyIP will then verify and sign all of their calls from their Customers (that belong to the Partner) with their own Certificate.
Revolt Voice and PC are now fully compliant with STIR/SHAKEN. They successfully obtained their Certificate and, in partnership with ClearlyIP as their SIp Trunking Carrier, signed the customer calls and retained their voice business with its customers.
The general bureaucracy of being a telecommunications provider in the United States means that several Telecom Resellers are making the difficult decision to transfer this part of their services to ClearlyIP. If you need more information, please reach out to ClearlyIP Sales.