If you want to port your existing telephone number to a VoIP provider (Internet Telephony Service Provider/ITSP) you can do, by and large. If this number is the number of the analogue phone line that carries the broadband connection that the VoIP service runs over you are knackered because the minute the number is ported the analogue line is ceased and therefore the broadband will stop working.
Of course you can’t run VoIP on a broadband connection that isn’t a broadband connection because it isn’t working. How good is that?
If consumers want to move away from an incumbent telco (for incumbent read slow moving, lacking innovation and expensive) and want to keep their phone number – I’ve had mine for 23 years – they therefore have to go through the pain of losing their telephony and broadband services for up to 11 working days. That’s potentially 15 non working phone days adding a couple of weekends into the equation.
Moreover a “cease and re-provide” costs £105 if my memory serves me right. Who would do it? You would have to be pretty desperate.
Reality this is an anti-competitive situation that is actually harming consumers and all because Openreach has been dragging its heels on looking at processes that could fix the situation.
The outrage is that the VoIP industry has been trying to change this situation for at least three years now – on 28th September 2007 the Federation of Communications Services submitted a Statement Of Requirement to Openreach. Three years later Openreach is still delaying.
Something needs to be done. The problem has been raised with Ofcom on a number of occasions and indeed the regulator escalated the problem to Jim Reilly at the Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator in June 2008. No progress has been made.
There is an Openreach Copper Products Commercial Group Meeting on 14th July 2010. This is the forum at which such issues would be discussed. If anyone out there knows anyone going to this meeting or has any influence at Openreach then please do all you can to put pressure on them to get this sorted. It is no longer acceptable that Openreach can indulge in such anti-competitive practices.