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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 21, 2009

U.S. Rep Calls for Faster Porting of Landline Phone Numbers

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

A longstanding effort to speed up the time it takes to transfer a landline phone number from one company to another reportedly is getting some more heft in Washington, D.C.
According to this article by Fawn Johnson of Dow Jones Newswires, a Democratic U.S. representative from Virginia is joining wireless telecom companies and others in a call to shorten the time frame for “porting” from four days to two.
The legislator, Rick Boucher, sent a letter to acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps, calling for the FCC (News - Alert) to adopt the new rule “swiftly.” Boucher serves as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee.
“People familiar with the issue say the change is one that can be approved easily by the current three-member commission, which will soon have new faces,” Johnson reports. “The item has been on the FCC’s docket for years.”
If approved – and the FCC may be seeking to approve the new rule before the agency’s new chairman, Julius Genachowski (News - Alert), takes over – the change likely would be a major boon for cable companies that offer so-called “triple play” services, or packages that include cable, Internet and phone servicers rolled up into one.
Consider a consumer who wants to switch service providers on a Thursday or Friday of a holiday weekend. He or she may have to wait a week for a landline number to “port,” compared to just a few hours for cell phone number transfers among wireless carriers. The delay, by putting off potential customers, could be costing cable companies droves of new subscribers.
It’s a problem that industry giants such as Comcast Corp. have been pushing for years to correct. As Johnson notes, Comcast’s (News - Alert) triple play service “can be self-installed immediately by new customers once their desired phone number is available.

TMCnet is following this story as it develops. Check back in for updates.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan