UK Telecoms Regulator Awarded Grant to Adapt Blockchain for Management of Telephone Numbers

The Office of Communications (Ofcom), which is the UK’s telecommunications regulatory authority, has accepted a grant of £700,000 ($916,000) from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

In an announcement revealed on October 8, this grant is to enable Ofcom to explore how it can deploy blockchain to significantly improve landline telephone numbers management.

Red Telephone Old Style

Image via Pixabay

On the back of this grant, Ofcom has unveiled plans to enlist participants in the industry that can use blockchain technology to test the management and movement of millions of landline telephone numbers. The agency itself will oversee the smooth running of the task.

In its statement, Ofcom commented, “We issue blocks of these numbers to telecoms operators who manage the numbers and movement (porting) of them into and out of their control.”

Ofcom also revealed that this will not be its first time doing this as it had undertaken attempts in the past to form a centralized database. However, its attempts have been unsuccessful due to high costs and collaborative barriers, two problematic areas that it hopes its adoption of blockchain technology will solve.

Ofcom also listed some of its expected benefits from using blockchain technology, which includes “increased industry agility,” increased efficiency in managing frauds and nuisance calls, and business and regulatory costs reduction.

In the words of the Chief Technology Officer of Ofcom, Mansoor Hanif, “We will be working with [the] 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 [how] blockchain could be applied to benefit consumers.”

The adoption of blockchain technology is not peculiar to the UK, as there are other countries that have been mulling plans to manage their networks with blockchain technology. In July, KT Corporation, the largest telephone company in South Korea launched its commercial network that is solely powered by blockchain.

According to the firm, the blockchain layer, which was built on an existing network, will ensure the efficient management of data and make its national network more transparent and secure.

Also in July, the three major telecoms operators in China established a research group that focuses solely on blockchain. The aim of this group is to build “a trustworthy blockchain application team to explore the blockchain area.”

In conclusion

The national telecoms regulator in the UK, Ofcom, has been awarded a grant of £700,000 (916,000) by the country’s Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy in a bid to sponsor research into managing and organizing telephone numbers with blockchain technology.

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