Ofcom is currently consulting on changes to EU law applicable to Communications Providers that in theory will force providers to port numbers within 24 hours of being asked.
Sounds great but fixed line providers have been chucked a get out clause that adds that a subscriber line has to be ‘ready for service’ before being appropriate to port.
This means business as usual for the likes of BT whose archaic manual porting system requires a complete overhaul anjd which often leaves business custoemrs in the lurch.
Coincidentally the Internet Telephony Service Providers’ Association, ITSPA has recently commissioned an independent report outlining the options for the UK Communications industry in respect of number porting. It isn’t just a technical issue. There are contractual bottlenecks as well with each CP having to independently negotiate separate porting contracts with every other CP.
I will share the output when I get is sometime in March. In the meantime Ofcom seems content to let sleeping dogs lie and accept that as long as the letter of the EU law is met, (but not the spirit) then that is all fine and handy. This might make Ofcom’s life easier but is a disservice to UK business that has to put up with lengthy delays with porting their telephone numbers.
Details of the Ofcom consultation, scheduled to last 6 weeks, are available here. Interestingly CPs are also required to offered disabled access to Emergency Services via sms text service. I will need to investigate this further but if applicable to ITSPS this is certainly something very new for them to get to grips with.
The new laws have to be in place by 25th May 2011.