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I confess I have become something of a nervous Nellie about telephone numbers.
Boring, humdrum, 10-digit numbers that sit at the base of the telephone system. Most of us never think about how they work. But we rely on them for a Hell of a lot. Contrary to popular belief, what defines the “public switched network” (PSTN) is not a particular technology or means of transmission, but the use of phone numbers in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) (47 C.F.R. 20.3).
Which is why I worry about the upcoming meeting of the North American Numbering Council (NANC) on Thursday. Folks expect that the NANC will address the the current fight between Neustar and Telcordia (now owned by Erickson) to become (or remain) the Local Number Portability Administrator (LNPA) when the current contract with Neustar runs out in 2015. While no one without a financial stake in the outcome (outside a handful of wonks obsessed with phone numbers) has followed this much, the possibility that we may create a destabilizing tug of war around the maintenance of phone numbers during the IP Transition gives me serious tummy queasies when I think about it.
At the same time, I recognize that any delay ends up favoring the current incumbent LNPA (Neustar) and that as a pro-competition guy I would like to see Telcordia give Neustar a run for the money and not get subjected to endless delays.
But . . . . tummy queasies! Possible meltdown of the phone system and stuff.
Details below . . .