UK Telecoms Regulator Receives Grant to Deploy Blockchain for Telephone Number Management


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                The British telecoms regulator has received a £700,000 grant to explore blockchain applications for better telephone number management.
                <p dir="ltr">The United Kingdom (<a href="">U.K.</a>) Office of Communications (Ofcom) has received a &pound;700,000 ($916,00) grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to explore <a href="">blockchain</a> technology, according to an announcement <a href="" rel="nofollow,noopener" target="_blank">published</a> Oct. 8.</p><p dir="ltr">The grant will purportedly help the U.K. telecoms regulator examine how blockchain can improve the management of landline telephone numbers.</p><p dir="ltr">Established in 2016, the BEIS is a <a href="">government</a> department supported by 46 agencies and public bodies and responsible for business, industrial strategy, science, innovation, and <a href="">energy</a> and climate change policy.</p><p dir="ltr">Per the announcement, Ofcom is looking to involve industry participants to test the movement and management of &ldquo;millions&rdquo; of telephone numbers using blockchain technology, while the agency itself will coordinate the work. &ldquo;We issue blocks of these numbers to telecoms operators, who manage the numbers and movement (porting) of them into and out of their control,&rdquo; the statement reads.</p><p dir="ltr">According to the regulator, previous attempts to form a centralized database have been unsuccessful because of collaborative barriers and high costs &mdash; two things which blockchain technology will purportedly circumnavigate.</p><p dir="ltr">Ofcom notes the potential of blockchain, citing regulatory and business costs reduction, more effective management of nuisance calls and <a href="">fraud</a>, and &ldquo;increased industry agility&rdquo; as its main benefits. Mansoor Hanif, Ofcom Chief Technology Officer, said:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;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 &mdash; as well as reducing nuisance calls. And we&rsquo;ll expand our research into other areas where innovative technologies such as [how] blockchain could be applied to benefit consumers.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Telephone companies in other countries have also been considering blockchain technology to manage their networks. In July, <a href="">China&rsquo;s</a> three major telecoms operators <a href="">launched</a> a blockchain research group aimed at building &ldquo;a trustworthy blockchain application team to explore the blockchain area.&rdquo;

Also in July, South Korea’s largest telephone company KT Corporation launched its blockchain-powered commercial network. The firm built a blockchain layer on top of its existing nationwide network in order to make it “more secure and transparent”, as well as manage data more efficiently.

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