FCC to Give VoIP Providers Direct Access to Phone Numbers
The Federal Communications Commission today issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making that would give providers of IP-based voice services, such as Vonage, direct access to telephone numbers. As the system works today, VoIP services must use a middleman to purchase telephone numbers for customers. The FCC recognizes that this can drive up costs for VoIP providers, as well as slow down the introduction of new services, such as HD Voice. The FCC is seeking comment from players in the telecommunications industry on the idea of giving VoIP providers permanent access to the telephone numbering system. Further, the FCC proposed to conduct a six-month trial wherein it will give Vonage and others provisional access to the system to see how it works. Last, the FCC opened a Notice of Inquiry concerning how telephone numbers are assigned to geographical regions. "The tie between area codes and geographic regions has been weakened by number portability," argues the FCC, "especially as mobile subscribers move away from the area where they obtained the service but continue using the number." The Inquiry seeks comment from the industry on whether or not the FCC should change the telephone numbering system's current relationship with subscriber location.
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