May 13, 2009
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission today adopted two items to benefit and protect consumers.
The Commission first made it easier for consumers to switch voice service providers by requiring wireline, wireless and certain Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers to transfer a customer's existing telephone number to a new provider within one business day, rather than the current four-day requirement. Delays in number porting cost consumers money and impede their ability to choose providers based solely on price, quality and service.
With the exception of small carriers, all providers must implement the new number porting interval within nine months from the time the Commission receives key input from the North American Numbering Council (NANC), which is due 90 days after the effective date of the order. Small carriers have 15 months after the NANC recommendation to implement the new interval. The NANC is a federal advisory committee charged with advising the Commission on numbering matters.
In a second order, the Commission expanded consumer protections for customers of interconnected VoIP providers. Interconnected VoIP providers are those whose customers can place calls to and receive calls from the public telephone network, rather than solely over the Internet.
These providers are now required to notify customers before they discontinue, reduce or impair service, as conventional providers currently must do. Interconnected VoIP providers can no longer close shop without notice, leaving customers unexpectedly without phone service or recourse.
Consumers are increasingly using interconnected VoIP to replace analog voice service, and their expectations for notice, access to emergency 911 service and other consumer protections are the same as users of conventional voice service, the Commission found.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
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