On June 20, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order adopting certain recommendations from the North American Numbering Council (NANC). The Order includes changes to cancelation, disconnection, and port activation procedures. The FCC did not adopt NANC’s recommendations regarding Area Code Relief because FCC rules give states, not the FCC, discretion to determine how new area codes will be introduced.
Changes to Cancelation Flows
Cancelation of a number porting request occurs when a customer asks a new service provider to port his or her number, and then cancels this request and decides to remain with his or her current service provider. The customer is always required to notify at least one provider of the cancelation. The FCC adopted three major revisions to the cancelation process, based on NANC recommendations:
- Responsibilities of current v. new service providers: If the customer contacts the current provider to cancel, that provider may choose to advise the customer to call the new provider to cancel the port request. If the customer contacts the new provider, that provider must cancel the port.
- Verifiable authority from customer: If the current provider decides to cancel the port request, it must obtain verifiable authority from the customer, such as a Letter of Authorization, dated after the initial port request. The new provider must then process the cancelation request, even if the current provider does not provide an actual copy of the authorization.
- Wireless v. wireline distinction: Cancelation flows will now depend on whether the current provider is a wireline or a wireless provider.
Changes to Disconnection Flows
Disconnection flows now specify that service providers cannot “age” a disconnected residential number for longer than 90 days or longer than 365 days for a disconnected commercial number. Aging is the process of delaying the opportunity of a recently-disconnected number to be reassigned to a new customer. Under the previous disconnection process, service providers were allowed to “age” disconnected residential and commercial numbers for up to 18 months. NANC pointed out that this time allowance is longer than allowed by FCC rules. The 90 day residential time limit and 365 commercial time limit reflect the FCC’s rules.
Premature Port Activation
Under the old port activation rules, new service providers could begin service days before the agreed upon port activation date. This sort of “premature port activation” can disrupt the customer’s service. NANC therefore recommended that both the current service provider and the new service provider must agree to any changes to the original activation date. This provision protects new providers from premature activation and service disruption.
Area Code relief and Number porting
The FCC did not adopt NANC’s proposal with respect to area code relief and number porting. NANC suggested the adoption of “Best Practice 30” which calls for “All-Services Area Code (NPA) Overlays,” rather than area code splits, is the best solution for area code relief. The FCC clarified that, according to FCC rules, each state has the discretion to decide how to introduce new area codes within their state. The FCC therefore declined to adopt broad sweeping area code relief requirements.
If you have questions regarding this Advisory or the FCC’s number porting / number resource-related issues, please contact Michael P. Donahue at firstname.lastname@example.org.