Update: What changes to Calling Line ID mean to Infinity and you

Published on 10th Sep 2018 in Tech

A big date in our calendars is rapidly approaching, as Ofcom’s new guidelines for Calling Line Identification Features come into force this October (see more here).

We enthusiastically support these changes, as they are aimed at boosting the reliability of Calling Line Identification (CLI) and reduce the opportunities to mislead callers. Infinity is fully prepared for these changes, although it will require some cooperation from our clients at their end in some cases.

So we’d like to take a few quick moments to briefly tell you what this means for our clients and for Infinity.

What is Calling Line Identification (CLI)?

CLI data is a number that identifies the caller with a number that a return call can be made to, and a privacy marking showing whether the number can be shared with the recipient of the call.

This gives the recipient of a call details about the party making that call. But that’s not all, CLI Data is also relied upon in call tracing to identify the sources of nuisance calls or to help locate a caller in emergency situations. Whatever the use, the accuracy of the CLI Data underpins it.

There are two types of line identity: the Calling Line Identity Presentation (CLIP) number and the Network Number. The CLIP is a number that is presented to the recipient of the call which can identify the caller, but may not necessarily identify the line identity of the geographic source of the call. This may be the case if a business has many internal phones, but only wants to present one number when making an external call. The location of the source of the call is provided through the Network Number, which identifies the fixed access ingress to the telephone network.

What do the new guidelines mean?

In brief, these new guidelines enforce the ability for someone receiving a call to identify who is calling them via a dialable telephone number unique to the caller. An earlier iteration was introduced in Autumn 2017, and following a consultation period the new changes have been updated to better reflect the technical possibilities available today.

The guidelines make it clear that ensuring accurate CLI Data is provided with a call is the responsibility of originating providers. Meanwhile, transit and terminating providers are expected to check that the number provided with a call is from a valid number range.

The updated guidance also clarifies the options available to call providers to prevent calls with invalid or non-dialable numbers from being connected to the end user.

Ofcom's statement still says "there are legitimate use cases where a CLI may be used as a Presentation Number on different networks," and "where the caller wishes to display different CLIs to the call recipient they are able to do so with the Presentation Number".

What does this mean to Infinity?

This will not affect Infinity's ability to pass the caller's number to our customer's phone systems, as carriers are still able to set the CLIP Number on outbound calls to any phone number.

However, a small proportion of our customer's phone systems and/or destination number carriers currently have their systems configured to strip the Presentation Number and always show the Network Number to their call centre staff.

When this change comes into effect in October 2018, it will mean that Infinity will not be able to set the caller's number as the Network Number. We will continue to pass the original caller's number in the Presentation Number for use by the customer.

What does this mean for our customers?

This won't affect the vast majority of clients in any way. In fact anyone who has not experienced CLI problems with our current carriers, will not experience problems in the future.

Our recommendation is that customers change their configuration so that they display the CLIP rather than CLI. If they do not do this they will see an Infinity test number, it is also against Ofcom’s new regulations on Calling Line ID to do so. Phone systems should always pass the CLIP number, as that’s what callers expect to be shown to the called party.

If your phone systems strip the CLIP Number you may find that you begin to lose the visibility of which callers are ringing when receiving calls through Infinity's tracking numbers.

These phone systems will need to be updated to display the CLIP Number rather than the Network Number, as they may already be in breach of Ofcom's regulations. Additionally, the Ofcom statement says "The accuracy of CLI Data needs to be protected throughout the transmission of the call, from the origination, during the transmission and through to its termination, so that accurate CLI data is presented. "

We would, therefore, encourage any clients affected by this to contact their phone system providers and request that the Present Number is shown on the agent handsets rather than the Network Number.

Infinity customers wishing to check that their set up is compliant with Ofcom’s regulations and providing the best experience for their callers should contact us if they have any questions.

If you’re not an Infinity customer, read our case studies to see how we are helping major businesses across many sectors, or start a conversation with us today to see how we can help you.

Chief Technical Officer

Thomas Parrott
Chief Technical Officer

Tech & telephony geek who makes sure we are at the cutting edge of tech and keeps the phones ringing.

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