Last month over 200 delegates attended the fifth Parliament and Internet Conference to discuss specific issues to the UK’s communications sector and hear speeches from well-known figures.

CEO of Ofcom Ed Richards, a longstanding supporter of the conference, began the series of speeches at Portcullis House, opposite the houses of Parliament. He began by summarising current trends found by the Ofcom Consumer Market Report, such as the recession not having an impact on digital technology.

Our very own Peter Gradwell was in attendance for the conference, taking a leading role in the “Retaining your phone number in an IP World” workshop discussion about current number portability legislation.

Others in attendance were members of the Internet Telephony Providers Association and VoIP community, such as Jim Reilly from the OTA (Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator).

Peter kicked off that session with an update on the problems and the mechanics currently facing consumers who wish to switch their phone numbers to Business VoIP.

A Gradwell customer, who also attended the workshop, provided a perfect example of the problems consumers experience. Trying to port his numbers from his previous telephony provider to Gradwell, his business lost the use of their number range for 45 days, at a cost of around £10,000 – a considerable amount for a small business.

The panel noted major problems in the number portability process such as “bigger players” determining the pace and the UK being viewed as an example of “how not to do number portability” to the rest of the world.

There was an appetite amongst the panellists to solve the problems currently facing providers and refocus support for the groups currently looking into this.

Chairman for the workshop, ITSPA Council Member Trefor Davies, concluded the discussion by saying that after hearing the industry-wide problems number portability was going to rise up the agenda and that “Ofcom and MPs were going to start receiving a lot of letters through their mailbox”.

(Image by Samantha Celera)


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