The end of the phone number is in sight
We’ve been without our phone numbers for a month.
We moved offices a month ago, to a new glass and steel building, as befits our new sharper cutting edge image .
Moving involved switching both ISP and phone suppliers. Our old ISP (Progressive networks) and our new ISP (TalkInternet) liaised with a bit of help from me to ensure that our 255 IP addresses moved in a few minutes.
I watched the process in BGPlay – Here are a couple of snapshots
In contrast, our old telco (lets call them ‘Beardie Media’) has miserably failed to transfer our phone numbers.
This is despite the statutory duty to port numbers between providers and having had 2 months to do it.
The reason Beardie Media give is “It is all Big Telecom’s fault” This is odd, because we haven’t been a Big Telecom customer for 5 years, our new provider is not Big Telecom either.
The way number portability works in the UK is that a number is managed by one provider for ever. It may be used on other provider’s networks, but it is dependent on the original issuer of the number.
Beardie Media are struggling to port out the numbers we ported in from Big Telecom to Beardie years ago. Big Telecom are perfectly happy to move the numbers when they get the correct paperwork from Beardie and our new VoIP supplier. The people who are dragging their heels are Beardie.
Coincidentally (or not) they continue to charge us rent for lines we can’t use into a building we now no longer occupy, threatening that if we disconnect, then we loose all rights to the numbers.
How have we managed without our numbers? Pretty well thanks. All of our current consultancy customers have Skype, and seem perfectly happy to use it. I doubt that many of them will ever go back to using the PSTN to contact us.
We have had more trouble with our startup (phonefromhere.com) where we are selling a service that provides a gateway between the internet and the PSTN. The existing customers were unaffected, but it has made it harder to get new business.
To work around that we have used VoIP to route the web generated calls to the single working phone we have in the office an analog device on our fax line.
My conclusion from this experience is that telco inflexibility is killing the phone number and with it the landline.
Phone numbers are a thing of the past.