In a recent ex parte meeting with Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) staff, Vonage reported the successes of a recently concluded trial wherein Interconnected VoIP companies were permitted direct access to telephone numbers. Under existing regulations, only ILECs and CLECs licensed by an appropriate State Public Utility Commission are able to procure telephone numbers directly from Neustar, the North American Numbering Plan administrator. Currently, therefore, all non-PUC licensed providers must procure numbers indirectly through licensed ILEC/CLEC partners. Indirect access exposes Interconnected VoIP providers to additional costs, burdens and restrictions imposed by supplier partners.
A copy of the Vonage Ex Parte Letter is available here: httpss://prodnet.www.neca.org/publicationsdocs/wwpdf/11414vonage.pdf
While it is unclear whether or when the FCC will adopt regulations authorizing I-VoIP providers to directly access telephone numbering resources, the success of the limited Vonage trial bodes well. Clients seeking to take immediate advantage of a prospective change in the rules are advised to prepare sufficiently in advance, potentially modeling business policies and practices after the details set forth in the trials. Clients with interest in this subject matter should contact Michael P. Donahue at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.