Ofcom given £700k grant to trial blockchain for telephone numbers
Ofcom has been granted £700,000 from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to look at how blockchain technology could improve the management of UK landline telephone numbers.
The project will see the regulatory body work with industry figures including businesses, universities and others to trial the management of phone numbers through blockchain and distributed ledger technology, taking place between now and April 2020.
The blog post announcing the move reads: “Approximately one billion landline telephone numbers are available in the UK, either already in use or reserved for allocation. We issue blocks of these numbers to telecoms operators, who manage the numbers and movement (porting) of them into and out of their control.
“Existing systems used for this process will be challenged as telecommunication networks move from traditional analogue telephone lines to an all-IP (internet protocol) infrastructure.”
The post details ways in which moving to blockchain could improve the system, from improved experience when changing providers, lower costs and more effective management of fraud and nuisance calls.
Mansoor Hanif, Ofcom Chief Technology Officer, said: “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.”
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