3 Important New Compliance Deadlines for Unified Communications Systems

New deadlines related to FCC rulings are coming up soon. These deadlines may require updating your unified communications systems to achieve compliance. Learn more about these rulings and what they mean for your phone systems below.

1. National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act

What is it?

In an effort to combat rising suicide rates by making it easier for Americans in crisis to obtain assistance from trained counselors, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently designated the number 9-8-8 as a simple, easy-to-remember, three-digit dialing code for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, similar to 9-1-1 for emergency services.

How does it affect your organization?

In July 16, 2020, the FCC provided new rules that apply to all telecommunications carriers as well as all interconnected and one-way Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers, giving them until July 2022 to adopt the digit-dialing and call routing changes necessary to implement the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and prepare for the expected increase in the volume of calls.

Under these new rules, calls to 988 will be directed to 1-800-273-TALK, which will remain operational during the 988 transition and after it is completed. To ensure that calls to 988 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, all covered providers will be required to implement call routing for 988 and require 10-digit dialing nationwide to avoid a potential overlap with seven-digit phone numbers that begin with 988.

Your organization needs to ensure that your phone system sees 988 as a valid call routing pattern to send to the PSTN. You must also ensure that your system is sending full 10-digit phone numbers for normal outbound dialing.

When does your organization need to be compliant?

The rules require all phone service providers to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.  Phone system operators may begin to implement these changes today.

2. STIR/SHAKEN

What is STIR/SHAKEN?

Did you know that illegally spoofed robocalling is the number-one consumer complaint to the FCC? To reduce the rising number of malicious and illegal phone number spoofing, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act was signed into law on December 30, 2019, which states that service providers must implement Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN) solutions within 18 months of passage of the law.

What does STIR/SHAKEN do?

STIR/SHAKEN are terms coined by the telecom industry for Internet Protocol-based traffic exchanges. Together, STIR/SHAKEN are a set of requirements that public switched telephone network (PSTN) carriers must implement by the summer of 2021.

Designed to re-establish trust in the nationwide communications network and take a stronger stance against malicious robocalling, STIR/SHAKEN solutions require PSTN carriers to validate the origins of all incoming calls or tag them as ‘less trustworthy.’

The STIR portion provides attestation that the call is legitimate by cryptographically signing calls in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) header using a trusted public key infrastructure to enhance the integrity of the originating call identifying data sent across networks, while SHAKEN determines the best way to handle each call.

Together, STIR/SHAKEN solutions allow businesses more insight into whether certain calls may be fraudulent. However, STIR/SHAKEN solutions do not necessarily block calls; rather, they provide indications of times when fraud or robocalls may be occurring.

How does it affect your organization?

All PTSN carriers delivering calls to the United States are required to submit a certification of their implementation of STIR/SHAKEN or a robocall mitigation plan, and all voice service providers will have a new duty not to accept calls directly from service providers that have not­­­­­­­ submitted such certifications.

If you have services from more than one carrier, it is important to match caller ID for outbound calls with the same circuit provider (for example, an AT&T caller ID over a call going over an AT&T circuit), as it will result in the highest trust rating possible. A carrier mismatch (for example, a Verizon caller ID going over an AT&T circuit), will result in the call receiving a downgraded rating and may even be blocked.

When does your organization need to be compliant?

All PSTN carriers must have STIR/SHAKEN solutions implemented by June 21, 2020. Phone system operators do not have a specific deadline, but as a best practice should match carrier numbers and services as soon as possible.

3. RAY BAUM’s Act and Kari’s Law Phase II

Though deadlines for portions of the FCC’s new rules based on RAY BAUM’s act and Kari’s Law went into effect earlier last year, another important deadline is coming up for mobile phones.

Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act

Kari’s Law requires multiline telephone system (MLTS) users to enable direct dialing of 911 without prefix or other digits required. Kari’s Law also requires them to notify appropriate personnel onsite that a caller dialed 911 and include the details of the dispatchable location to decrease response time when emergency services arrive on site.

RAY BAUM’s Act requires MLTS users to provide the PSAP a “dispatchable location,” defined as “… a street address, but should also include more granular information such as building number, floor, suite, room, or other available relevant location information that can best assist first responders in an emergency” for all 911 calls.

When does your organization need to be compliant?

All organizations should be compliant with the Kari’s Law requirements now. RAY BAUM’s Act compliance dates were split into two categories. All fixed (wired or VoIP) devices were required to be compliant by January 2021. The upcoming deadline you need to be aware of is that all non-fixed (wireless or mobile) devices must be compliant by January 6, 2022.

How can Sirius help your organization become compliant?

As an experienced unified communications solution provider, Sirius can help put together a plan for your organization whether you are just starting out or are ready to implement specific solutions. We offer several technologies and professional services that can help bring all of your IP telephony services, digital collaboration, and unified communications solutions up to code, including:

  • Consultations and assessments
  • Caller location tracking
  • Routing calls to correct PSAPs
  • Providing location information to the PSAP
  • Notifying key personnel in an emergency

If you have questions about how Sirius can help your organization meet these new compliance requirements, be sure to contact us or call 800-460-1237 for more information.

By |2021-06-14T12:26:14-05:00May 26th, 2021|Blog|Comments Off on 3 Important New Compliance Deadlines for Unified Communications Systems

About the Author:

Michael Dempsey is an Infrastructure Solutions Technical Architect for Sirius.