Worldwide carriers set to launch distributed ledger tech

Worldwide carriers set to launch distributed ledger tech tomorrow

13 January 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Carriers and other service providers from across the world are about to announce a new network that will automate settlements for the provision of flexible business products.

Supporters of the new service, dubbed the Communications Business Automation Network (CBAN), will give full details of their plans tomorrow, Tuesday 14 January, in a worldwide webinar.

CBAN is backed by 10 influential supporters, A1 Telekom Austria, BTS, Colt Technology Services, Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, IDT, Orange, PCCW Global, Tata Communications, Telefónica International Wholesale Services, and Telstra, together with three other carriers, AT&T, Sparkle and Verizon.

Colt chief of staff Louisa Gregory (pictured), who is leading the CBAN working group, said the launch follows a “period of intense collaboration between carriers and technology vendors”.

Tomorrow’s announcement will give details of CBAN’s role, governance principles and technical framework, she added. “We are as convinced as ever that an automated settlement platform to benefit the whole industry can and will become a reality in the coming months.”

CBAN is also backed by leading technology providers Amartus, Clear Blockchain Technologies, ConsenSys, CSG, Difitek, Internet Mobile Communications, Orbs, R3, Subex, Syniverse and TOMIA.

CBAN uses distributed ledger technology (DLT), often known as blockchain technology, though an executive close to CBAN pointed out that “blockchain is a DLT but not all DLTs are blockchain”.

The project that is now CBAN was initiated in 2018 by the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF), the group of leading carriers that support International Telecoms Week, the annual industry meeting that takes place in June in Atlanta

Companies behind CBAN hope that it will extend beyond telecoms carriers, to include over-the-top (OTT) and other service providers in the wider information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

Today sees the publication of a whitepaper outlining the principals of CBAN as well as the first release of the reference architecture and the initial set of definitions for data-on-demand and international voice settlement that will be offered via the platform.

Marc Halbfinger, CEO of PCCW Global and chair of the GLF, said: “We have taken a major step closer to achieving automated interoperability and settlement of ICT service provider traffic. We agreed early on that this transformation can be most successful if adopted by the whole industry. That is why we are assuring complete transparency by sharing everything we are doing to allow anyone to ask questions and to engage. This published whitepaper and the first releases of the technical documents will further drive ICT industry engagement.”

Members of the CBAN will host a webinar tomorrow, Tuesday 14 January, starting at 14:00 UK time (09:00 ET, 22:00 China time) to present and discuss the project and its intended impact to the industry. Gregory and Halbfinger will present the webinar, alongside Juan Carlos Bernal, CCO of Telefónica International Wholesale Services.

Jussi Makela, director of the GLF and project manager of the CBAN working group, said: “The level of support and engagement from every carrier and technology developer involved over the past six months since we launched the CBAN project has been incredible. This has allowed us to transition this very quickly from a study group into an actual development project that is expected to be in-production and delivering real value to participating members before the end of 2020.”

The CBAN reference architecture describes the design of the chains, services and solutions endorsed by the CBAN special purpose entity that has been incorporated as a membership organisation in Singapore.

The objectives of using the reference architecture are to:

  • Maximise the choice of technology solutions available to ICT service providers;
  • Increase the CBAN’s longevity – ‘future-proofing’ it;
  • Maximise the CBAN’s scalability in terms of the supported business products, number of technology providers developing solutions for the platform and the number of ICT Service Providers able and prepared to use it.

The reference architecture, the business product definitions and the CBAN whitepaper can be downloaded from the CBAN website at https://www.cban.net/.