Numbering problems with VoIP identified

Number administration agency to examine PSTN-VoIP transition issues

The authority that controls New Zealand’s numbering plan is embarking on a fact finding mission to Europe, to determine how numbers should be allocated in the transition from traditional fixed-line PSTN voice services to VoIP.

Number Administration Deed (NAD) administrator Susan Wells says representative Jonathan Hope will visit the regulators OfCom in the UK, Comreg in Ireland, PTSE in Sweden and National IT and Telecom in Denmark, as well as telecommunication providers in those countries.

Among the issues he will look at are policies around dealing with “fixed line” services that aren’t tied to a specific location (VoIP), how to ensure number ranges aren’t hoarded, how to monitor usage and how to treat ‘golden numbers’, which are phone numbers with attractive number combinations that may form words.

Wells says NAD is revising its allocation methods and governance structure.

The NAD is an industry committee of telcos currently providing PSTN phone services in New Zealand and require numbers for their customers. It has 17 members, each of whom pay an annual $10,000 fee to belong. However, not all telcos have chosen to join.

At the behest of the Commerce Commission, the NAD and the Telecommunications Carriers Forum set up a joint working party and released a draft code late last year on how it intended to manage the numbering plan.

However, the Commission was concerned that the code focussed on governance – the working party had suggested the formation of a new management group that would fall under the auspices of the TCF – at the expense of dealing with methods of allocating numbers in the new IP world.

The independent chair of the NAD, Richard Rowley, says some members of the industry believe that the numbering plan should be controlled by the government regulator, while others say that an industry body can manage it cheaply and more effectively.

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