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Ofcom, the regulatory authority in the United Kingdom, has today published an extensive consultation document entitled "Numbering arrangements for Voice over Broadband services".


As T-REGS had already indicated in an earlier news item, Ofcom now formally puts forward 056 as a dedicated number range for VoIP services. This is proposed not only for services which do not constitute "PATS" (publicly accessible telephone service), as had been anticipated earlier, but also for PATS. Ofcom also consults about the appropriateness of using geographic telephone numbers for voice services which make use of underlying IP networking.



The consultation includes a proposal of setting a price ceiling of 5 pence per minute for calls to numbers in the 056 range, and discusses interconnection arrangements, including interconnection outpayments for call termination to the 056 number range.

As regards the possible use of geographic numbers, Ofcom has identified 4 options:


Option 1:


Allocation of geographic numbers for all types of VoB services (several sub-options are identified, including a so-called "wide area code" option).


Option 2:


Allocation of geographic numbers only to VoB services that constitute PATS.


Option 3:


Allocation of geographic numbers only to VoB services that constitute PATS in areas where numbers are abundant.


Option 4:


Prohibiting allocation of geographic numbers for any VoB services.


The full text of the Ofcom consultation document can be accessed by clicking here.


The deadline for responses to the consultation is split in 3 parts:



  • 24 March 2004 for comments on the notification of the proposed modifications to the National Telephone Numbering Plan.
  • 24 March 2004 for comments on the draft Direction proposing a telephone numbering application form for 056 numbers.
  • 4 May 2004 for comments on the options presented in the consultation on allocation of geographic numbers for VoB services.

For further information about VoIP numbering, in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, please contact Yves Blondeel