Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Role of FCC on Toll Free Service

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is an independent government agency in the US that was established to control and standardize both the international and interstate communications. The agency covers the following: cable, radio, satellite, television, telephone, wire, etc. FCC was created under the Communication Act of 1934 and all the 50 US states including the territories under its jurisdiction.

FCC plays a notable role in the toll free service industry as well. The commission is also responsible for regulating the rules in obtaining and using the toll free phone numbers and that they cannot be put up for sale. Even if these special telephone numbers are in the public domain, brokering/hoarding is still prohibited although there are some who practice the idea. This prompted the agency in filing court motion to clarify the system. The regulations include:
  • Allocation of toll free numbers is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Subscribers are not allowed to allocate more numbers.
  • RespOrg (Responsible Organizations) are not allowed to reserve a number without a properly identified subscriber. This illegal practice is also known as hoarding.
  • A reserved number must be allocated within eight months. This mandate prevents RespOrg in hoarding numbers.
Vanity numbers are now targeted for the illegal selling despite of the regulation and mandates made by FCC.

The agency also ruled out the implementation of 1800 numbers portability. This regulation states that subscribers are allowed to switch to different providers or carriers without changing their number. With this rule, subscribers are not locked with their carriers thus increasing the competition among the providers.

Unfortunately, FCC has limitations as well since it has no access to the SMS/800 database and it cannot provide the status of 0800 numbers.

No comments:

Post a Comment