Thursday, February 02, 2006

Does the FCC Need to Regulate VoIP LNP?

I hate to even bring this topic up because I am generally adverse to government regulation of any type. My recent experience with transferring my number from Vonage to BroadVoice leads me to believe that the FCC needs to step in and mandate a 72 hour maximum to transfer a number from one carrier to another including VoIP. I signed up for BroadVoice’s VoIP service over 90 days ago and completed my local number portability (LNP) request three days after signing up. Within 24 hours, BroadVoice confirmed acceptance of my request. Since then I have not heard a word as to the status of my request. During this time, I have been paying for services from Vonage and BroadVoice negating any potential savings this year. Most customers would not tolerate the time lag and cancel their BroadVoice service. I probably should have as well due to all of the problems that I had with BroadVoice, but they changed CLEC and most of the problems seem to have disappeared.

There is no logical reason why Vonage and XO Communications should take at least 90 days to transfer my number to BroadVoice’s CLEC. The wireless industry was forced by the FCC to solve that problem and maybe so should the VoIP industry. I shudder to even suggest that the FCC should provide some regulation to the VoIP providers, but the length of time it takes to transfer numbers hurts the fledgling VoIP industry. VoIP providers can blame it on the RBOC and CLEC all they want. The customer still sees it as a problem switching to the new service. The FCC had to involve themselves with E-911 before the incumbent carriers started working with VoIP providers. They should do it again for LNP. All carriers whether wireline or wireless, POTS or VoIP should have to complete a number transfer request within 72 hours unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Tags: VoIP, LNP, Vonage, BroadVoice, FCC