US number portability extends to VoIP providers

November 3, 2007

The Federal Communications Commission in the US has expanded the right of consumers to keep the same, familiar phone number when switching to a new telephone company. The order will give consumers the opportunity to choose a telephone service provider based on quality, price and service.

The FCC has made clear that the obligation to provide local number portability extends to interconnected VoIP providers and the telecommunications carriers that obtain numbers for them. The action is, in part, a response to numerous complaints by consumers about their inability to port numbers to or from interconnected VoIP providers.

The order clarifies that telephone companies may not obstruct or delay number porting by demanding excess information from the customer’s new provider, and specifically concluded that LNP validation for a simple number port should be based on no more than four fields. The FCC has also tentatively requested that it requires the industry to complete simple ports in 48 hours.


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