The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved rules to speed up number porting and to require failing VoIP providers to give “reasonable notice” to customers and regulators before they shut down. Verrry interesting.
Under the new number porting rule, most service providers — landline, wireless and “certain VoIP” ones — will require the ability to switch customer phone numbers to another provider within one business day. Currently, providers have slack time of up to four days. NANC (North American Numbering Council) is expected to provide its input on the rule with 90 days. After NANC’s report is in, larger carriers will have 9 months to comply while smaller ones will get up to 15 months.
Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps noted that the wireless industry — ok, the guys with the most shiny new infrastructure — have adopted a standard 2.5 hour porting interval for wireless-to-wireless porting, other service providers haven’t adopted a voluntary standard for wireline-to-wireless or intermodal ports.
Meanwhile, the FCC and other were invoking the ghost of SunRocket, which abruptly closed its doors in 2007, in approving a rule to require failing VoIP providers to give “reasonable notice” to customers; how long exactly wasn’t defined by the commission. The FCC believes the new rule will give customers a “reasonable opportunity” to switch providers if their existing VoIP service is going to shut down. Faster number porting should also help migrate customers from failing service providers.
FCC commissioners might have also been inspired by the more recent cratering of SkyWi in New Mexico — its initial failure to pay its bills left thousands of business and commercial customers without phone service when Qwest shut down SkyWi’s long-haul and local circuits.