Porting VoIP numbers, cont.
VoIP porting; LNP information.
The FCC has placed rules that state that a user or VoIP customer retains the right to port-in a number to an interconnected VoIP service or to port-out their number from an interconnected VoIP service, as long as they remain in the local geographic area.
Although, most VoIP providers who interconnect to the PSTN have arrangements with CLECs, or other telephone entities, who can actually own numbers, to supply them numbers, both the interconnected VoIP provider and its numbering partner are responsible for facilitating a customer's request to port a number. The FCC has said that interconnected VoIP providers and their partners both have a legal obligation to take all steps necessary to initiate or allow the porting of a number. They cannot place unreasonable requests of the customer and must enact procedures that will facilitate the porting process and are not allowed to make a system that would deny the port process or deny keeping your number. As long as you remain in the same geographic area, you can switch telephone service providers, including interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers and keep your existing phone number. However, if you are moving from one geographic area to another you may not be able to take your number and have it ported to that new area. The rules further state:
- Interconnected VoIP providers are also prohibited from contracting with a customer (end user) in a way which prevents or hinders the customer to port its number.
- Providers are to inform their end user customers about limitations on porting certain numbers due to geographic restrictions or numbers that are outside of the local rate center.
Subscribers remaining in the same geographic area can now
switch from a wireless, wire-line, or VoIP provider to any other
wireless, wire-line, or VoIP provider and still keep their
existing phone numbers.
The Porting Period (Directly from the FCC)
The FCC has changed its number porting rules to shorten the porting
period for simple ports from the current four days to one business
day. This new deadline applies to all simple ports, including
intermodal ports such as wireline to wireless, wireless to
wireline, wireline or wireless to VoIP, or any other
combination. Simple ports generally do not involve more than
one line or more complex adjustments to telephone switching
equipment. Wireline, wireless, and interconnected Voice
over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers are required to meet this
new, simple port deadline.
What is an Interconnected VoIP Carrier? It is a service that has the following:
- The service enables real time two-way voice communications.
- The service requires IP compatible CPE (Customer Premise Equipment)
- Enables users to generally receive calls that originate on the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and to terminate calls to the PSTN.
- The service requires a broadband Internet connection from the user's location.
From the definitions above (which can be found as part of the public record submitted into court documents) most VoIP companies fall into the Interconnected category. This being the case they must abide by the FCC rulings and if you request information from many VoIP providers they will give you straight up information about portability in and out of numbers. These numbers can be the ones actually assigned by the Interconnected VoIP company's partner upon getting service and should become yours to port where you want. We suggest that you inquire about porting out an assigned number with any VoIP provider that you are considering. If it is important that you have the future ability to port out the number and they are not clear up front that you will be able to, look for another company who is clear that it becomes your number to move.
Actually, only federally regulated carriers with facilities like switches physically located in the area codes in question can actually own numbers. These entities include CLECS, ILECs and RBOCS. If you do have a phone number in your name from a phone company that is interconnected and must conform to LNP rules, you can port it to your a VOIP provider who in most cases ports it to their CLEC in your area (as long as they have numbers in the rate center that your number lies in). (Although there are a few VoIP providers who are also actually CLEC themselves and even then they may have agreements to other CLECs in specific geographic areas.) Understanding the exceptions, in most cases VOIP companies are not telephone companies (CLECs), so your port is actually going to a CLEC, not the VOIP company.
Simple VoIP ports; what are they?
Simple ports have been defined by the FCC and restrictions and how these ports are treated and how fast they must occur have also been spelled out. Simple ports are ports that have the following characteristics:
- They do not involve having to unbundle specific network services.
- They are a number that that is part of an account with only a single line.
- They do not include a reseller.
- They will require or include complex switch translations.
With simple port requests the provider who has the number and is getting a request from another provider to move the number cannot require more information than is reasonable to validate the port and move the number. Simple ports are also considered involving wire-line to wire-line ports and wireless to wireless ports. The normal information required should be limited to the following:
- The 10 digit phone number.
- The customer's account number.
- The customer's 5 digit zip code.
- The customer's pass-code, if one exists on the account.
Simple port requests must be completed within 1 business day after the request is received (but then again, this is the mandate, not always what you'll get). This period was shortened to one business day in late summer 2010 from a previous 4 days.
Interconnected VoIP service allows you to make and receive calls to and from traditional phone numbers using an Internet connection. This definition includes most VoIP providers we see and subscribe to today. If a service only allows connection to other "on net" people and not traditional landlines, then it would not be considered an interconnected service. The key is that you can make calls to traditional phones.