The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the direction of Chairman Ajit Pai, is poised to improve number portability in the telecom industry. The FCC will begin with a push for policies designed to open up flexibility and portability, bringing innovation and competition to the industry in the process. Today’s telecom ecosystem is being modernized under Chairman Pai’s leadership. As part of this initiative, the FCC is currently moving toward nationwide number portability, a change that will allow phone number porting without the current geographic restrictions.
Currently, small wireless, wireline, and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) number porting is limited. With the proposed regulatory and technological changes, complete nationwide number portability would be made available between all service providers, regardless of size or type and geographic service location. Having the ability to own and control their own numbering resources is a benefit for carriers, operators, and service providers so they can better serve their customers while improving the responsiveness of their service.
Additionally, the change would allow for small and regional carriers to compete with nationwide carriers, providing for more competition and a better economic landscape for consumers and businesses alike. According to Brian Lynott, ATL Communications’ chief executive officer and chairman, the FCC recognizes the need for change and is committed to making quick adjustments.
“While we’ve seen policy decisions made around digital, digital media and social media, telecom has not seen updates since the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which was the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in 62 years. Therefore, we have room to modernize rules and regulations and opportunities for improvement.”
“While there are many innovations around communication, voice is still going to be a primary part of the telecom ecosystem. The FCC is going to address issues quickly, and we are pleased to be a part the organizations that have a seat at the table when these policies are being discussed. It’s important to the future of business and impacts the consumer.”
Lynott agrees with the FCC that addressing issues like nationwide number portability leads to innovation and lower technology costs. Furthermore, the ability for any communications system to innovate relies on the improvement of the existing telecom infrastructure.
“We are pleased with the current direction the FCC is headed and make every effort to place ourselves in a position of influence so that all our customers’ interests can be heard.”
Influencing an Industry
There are several team members within ATL, including Lynott, who serve as knowledgeable, impartial, and expert voices for telecom and the industries that rely on them.
Lynott and the ATL team feel it is their responsibility to sit on industry boards and committees, in order to provide an objective point of view to those who make decisions.
“At ATL, we remain neutral and are a neutral number administrator,” says Lynott. “That puts us in a unique position to advocate across our 240 major carriers that use our service now and any future carriers who may decide to align with us.”
Lynott recognizes the issues that stem from incumbents (large carriers such as AT&T or Verizon), carriers, operators, service providers, contacts centers, and enterprise companies all needing to provide comments to the FCC on this and any future proposed changes. Often large carriers have a voice with the FCC by the nature of their business. ATL delivers a voice for the organizations that are smaller, and therefore may not have the same opportunities as larger carriers.
As the recipient of the Somos 2017 Toll-Free Advocacy Award, Lynott and his team are seen as strong advocates for the industry as a whole. The award was given to ATL for their continued attendance at major industry events, continued efforts to spearhead policy change, and leading the charge in toll-free fraud prevention, detection, and enforcement.
“The world of telecom is very complex, layered with regulatory challenges. Furthermore, we are in need of rapid innovation and to expand the competition to improve the overall landscape,” said Lynott. “We advocate providing a seat at the table for everyone while also striving to provide services that simplify the complexity of managing their business.”
Simplifying the Complex
Lynott believes that nationwide number portability will be approved by the FCC and be implanted quickly. This will create a scenario of increased competition, more options for transferring or porting phone numbers, and provide a better user experience when it comes to local number porting. However, it will also increase the complexity of the backend for the public switch telephone network (PSTN) and the ecosystem as a whole.
“It’s the dichotomy of these types of changes. By increasing competition and making it easier for people to port numbers, we increase the complexity of the ecosystem, making it more difficult overall,” says Lynott. “Understanding that complexity is the genesis for our online PortingPro portal. We make the complex simple for our clients.”
ATL’s PortingPro is an end-to-end porting solution that provides an intuitively-designed interface to increase the accuracy and timeliness of porting. The system provides a comprehensive dashboard with automation that reduces fallout by up to 60 percent via a true web-enabled, browser agnostic portal. As the first cloud-based platform, PortingPro provides services that begin with pre-port services, then goes to port-to-post post services, and includes fall-out management and support services.
“Our goal is to solve the complexities of the telecom business so our clients can focus on building their businesses while better serving their clients,” said Lynott.
Lynott can be seen speaking at the FCC Quarterly and participating on various boards and committees, a tradition within the organization since 1992.
To learn more about PortingPro, ask questions about the upcoming FCC nationwide number porting or receive information on how to comment to the FCC, reach out to the ATL team or call 1-800-Porting.