One of the issues facing VOIP providers is their inability to obtain ordinary telephone numbers. Telecommunications carriers must be state certified in order to obtain numbers (technically numbering resources).
In June, the FCC permitted SBC IP, a subsidiary of SBC Communications, on a trial basis to obtain numbering resources directly from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (“NANPA”) for a non-commercial trial of VOIP services. Shortly thereafter, SBC IP filed a waiver request with the FCC, seeking approval to acquire numbers for a commercial VOIP deployment. The comment period ended August 31.
With SBC IP being granted permission to allocate numbers, without a state operating certificate, one begins to wonder how serious the FCC is in their support of fair competition (or conversely, just how much the FCC is in the hip pocket of the incumbent local telephone companies). Rumors abound that Jeff Pulver will soon file a petition with the FCC asking that VoIP providers be allowed to get access to numbering resources, at least for IP-based technical trials. Good stuff.
Anyway, the battle over phone numbers should be interesting. Stay tuned.