Rule Changes Set Stage for Nationwide Number Portability

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At its July Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Report and Order (R&O) that modifies outdated Commission rules in order to pave the way for nationwide number portability.  Number portability is the ability to keep an existing phone number when changing carriers and locations.  The R&O eliminates the “dialing parity” rule, which was aimed at enabling consumers to access a standalone long-distance provider without dialing extra digits, for competitive providers and standalone services grandfathered in 2015.  It also eases the “N-1” rule, which currently requires the next-to-last carrier in a call to query the number portability database, by allowing other carriers in the chain to query the database.  The Commission expects this change to provide flexibility in call routing as the industry gears up for nationwide number portability.

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