Ofcom announces consultation on the future regulation of phone numbers and calls 1

Ofcom announces consultation on the future regulation of phone numbers and calls

As part of an ongoing overhaul of regulations around landline services moving online, Ofcom has announced it will extend its consultation into the future use of telephone calling.

Ofcom claim this would create both opportunities and challenges for improving services, such as identifying and preventing nuisance calls.

Ofcom wants to consider how regulation could evolve to make sure people retain confidence in phone numbers and calls as an access point for important services.

Under the heading ‘Promoting trust in telephone numbers’, Ofcom wants to create a common database of phone numbers which would enable companies to verify that Caller ID numbers are genuine. They believe this would go some way to tackle nuisance and scam calls.

Such a database would also improve the process of letting people and businesses keep, or ‘port’ their number when they switch providers.

Ofcom welcomes views and comments on this and has set a deadline of the 6 June 2019. They will then publish a summary of the responses and comments, outlining further steps this summer.

Likewise, Ofcom has invited responses and comments on how landline numbers should evolve. This would look at how changes in phone numbers are used. Including whether area codes and associated location information should be retained. This part of the consultation has a deadline for 20 June 2019 and Ofcom plan to set out further policy proposals later in the year.

Finally, Ofcom are seeking views on what the move to internet calls (VOIP) might mean for the regulation of interconnection. Interconnection is the process of ensuring all calls made from one network to another are continuously connected.

Ofcom believes this may have implications for how they regulate what phone companies charge each other for connecting those calls between their networks. Again, this consultation will have a deadline of 6 June 2019.

Ofcom says that responses to this will inform their next review of interconnection and termination markets, which they expect to consult on in early 2020.

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A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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