Ofcom, which is a national telecoms regulator, was given a £700k grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The grant has been provided for the express purpose for Ofcom to explore how it could utilise blockchain technology in order to improve the way in which UK landline telephone numbers will be managed.
According to the announcement released by Ofcom on their official website, Ofcom would be ‘inviting industry participants to trial the porting and management of millions of telephone numbers using blockchain and ledger technology’ during a time frame that expands to April 2020. In order to accomplish this goal, the telecoms regulator plans to coordinate across the industry, with universities and with third-party providers.
Using blockchain technology, Ofcom will be able to enable trust transactions, i.e consumer porting, in order to effectively ‘manage the lifecycle of a telephone number transforming data to support voice call routing and ownership’. The integration of blockchain will allow for the treatment of telephone numbers as digital assets in order to improve landline telephone number management.
The CEO of Ofcom, Mansoor Hanif commented on the company’s endeavour and stated, “We will be working with industry to explore how blockchain could make it quicker and easier for landline customers to switch providers while keeping their number – as well as reducing nuisance calls. And we’ll expand our research into other areas where innovative technologies such as blockchain could be applied to benefit consumers”.
There are over a billion landline telephone numbers that are available within the UK that are currently being utilised and have been reserved for use in the future. Keeping this in mind, the scope for blockchain to lower the cost of regulation and business overhead, increase industry agility, improve the customer experience when telecom providers are switched and to handle telephone fraud management is immense.