Ofcom receives £700,000 grant to develop blockchain-based solution for phone number management

Watchdog believes moving to blockchain has potential to bring significant benefits to consumers and telco sector

Ofcom receives £700,000 grant to develop blockchain-based solution for phone number management

The UK’s communication watchdog, Ofcom, has received funding, which will allow it to explore how blockchain technology could help the country’s telecoms industry.

Ofcom is one of 15 wining projects that has received funding from the Regulators' Pioneer Fund. Awarded last week by Business Secretary Greg Clark, the grant of nearly £700,000 to Ofcom is for a project “that uses blockchain technology to improve UK telephone number management”. According to the October 5 announcement, the watchdog will use the funding to develop a secure sandbox environment for voice communications providers to trial porting and managing telephone numbers using blockchain.

Earlier today Ofcom released a statement, providing further details about the project. Confirming that it had received the grant, the regulator said that the project was aimed at using blockchain to improve the way UK telephone numbers are managed.

“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,” the watchdog said in the statement, adding that “between now and April 2020” it would be inviting g industry participants to trial the porting and management millions of telephone numbers.

Ofcom also said that using blockchain would potentially bring a number of benefits to consumers and industry players, including: improved customer experience when moving a number between providers; lower regulatory and business costs; increased industry agility and more effective management of nuisance calls and fraud.

The regulator also pointed to some of blockchain’s major advantages, such as its resilience, transparency and its use of open source software code. The watchdog expressed confidence that with the help of blockchain it would be able to develop a cost-effective and future-proof solution.

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