The Wireline Competition Bureau of the FCC issued a Public Notice on February 4, 2016 announcing that beginning February 18, 2016 the Bureau will accept applications from interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA).  Interconnected VoIP providers can submit applications for numbers electronically using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS).

The Bureau’s Public Notice follows up on the Commission’s Direct Access Report and Order released on June 22, 2015, which established a process by which the Commission will authorize interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, rather than through intermediaries. The Commission stated its decision to permit interconnected VoIP providers to receive numbers is expected to “facilitate innovative technologies and services that will benefit both consumers and providers, and further the Commission’s recognized pro-consumer, pro-competition, and public safety goals.”

The new applications are not required to be in any particular form or format. The requirement is simply that each application must contain the following information:

  • The applicant’s contact information for personnel qualified to address issues relating to regulatory requirements, compliance with Commission rules, 911, and law enforcement;
  • An acknowledgment that the numbering authority granted is subject to compliance with applicable Commission numbering rules, numbering authority delegated to the states, and, industry guidelines and practices regarding numbering as applicable to telecommunications carriers;
  • An acknowledgement that the applicant must file requests for numbers with the relevant state commission(s) at least thirty (30) days before requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators;
  • Proof that applicant will be capable of providing service within sixty (60) days of the numbering resources activation date
  • Certification that the applicant complies with Universal Service Fund contribution obligations, Telecommunications Relay Service contribution obligations, its North American Numbering Plan and Local Number Portability Administration contribution obligations, and obligations to pay regulatory fees
  • Certification that the applicant possesses the financial, managerial, and technical expertise to provide reliable service.