FCC to Allow VoIP Providers Direct Access to NANPA Numbers

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The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) has released a public notice announcing that the FCC will begin accepting applications from interconnected voice-over-Internet (VoIP) providers for authorization to obtain telephone numbers directly from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator and the Pooling Administrator (Numbering Administrators).  Specifically, the FCC has established an electronic filing mechanism for the collection and processing of “Numbering Authorization Applications” by VoIP providers, that once approved by the FCC, will allow the VoIP providers to seek telephone numbers from the Numbering Administrators.  Previously, the FCC approved the numbering application process through its Direct Access Report and Order released on June 22, 2015, and the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget then approved the rules establishing the process on January 5, 2016.  In order to obtain numbers, interested VoIP providers must file Numbering Authorization Applications through the FCC’s ECFS system and select “VoIP Numbering Authorization Application” from the Inbox list when submitting the application.  Per FCC rules, the VoIP provider’s Numbering Authorization Application must contain certain information and the VoIP provider must certify to certain conditions in order to be approved and processed.  Once the FCC preliminarily accepts a Numbering Authorization Application, the VoIP provider will be assigned its own case-specific docket number and the FCC will issue an “Accepted for Filing” public notice seeking public comment on the application.  Comments are due no later than 15 days after the release of each provider’s case-specific public notice unless the FCC issues a different deadline.  Thirty-one days after the release of the case-specific public notice, a Numbering Authorization Application will be deemed automatically granted unless the WCB notifies the VoIP provider differently.  The WCB will, however, retain its right to halt “auto-grants” under certain conditions.

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