Battles over phone numbers brewing

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.

In other news, GVNews.Net Daily World reports in a recent story Old-Fashioned Corruption at the FCC:

The Public Integrity people examined the travel records of FCC employees and found that they have accepted 2,500 trips, costing nearly $2.8 million over the past eight years, paid for by the telecommunications and broadcast industries, which are, theoretically, “regulated” by the FCC.

Anyway, the battle over phone numbers should be interesting. Stay tuned.

2 comments for “Battles over phone numbers brewing

  1. Hiya, I was wondering what were your thoughts about not using phone numbers for voice over ip, but instead using our existing (and new) e-mail addresses, using DNS records, something along this standard:

    I don’t find it entirely crazy to extend the semantic meaning of to one’s global communication ID.

    Actually, I framed my question incorrectly. We still want to bridge regular phone systems with VoIP so phone numbers would be useful.

    I actually meant to contrast e-mail addresses with cryptic SIP phone numbers.

    Instead of giving someone:

    1) my phone number
    2) my email address
    3) my SIP address

    i could instead only give them 1) and 2). If they plug 2) in a SIP device, it could try to ring me up by looking-up a SIP host that would know about my username for my domain, and contacting me thru it, if I’m not there, it could capture a voicemail audio clip from me and e-mail a .wav file to me over SMTP via another host it’d have looked-up thru an MX record.

    I could however see how people would want to dissociate their SIP access from their e-mail access, but even then, would seem easier to remember than a sip address?

  2. I’m not sure I see as big of a difference between and a SIP address. A sip address looks just like that, except with sip: in the beginning, e.g.

    That aside, reasonable men can come to different conclusions with equal validity, IMHO, about whether numbers or URIs are primary in the future. Some people argue that we will all have a master-number and that’s what we give out and from that number we can be contacted via phone, IM, email, web page, whatever.

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