This evening, the Irish regulatory authority ComReg published a Consultation Paper entitled "Numbering for VoIP services".

ComReg proposes to open a new number range "076" (3+7 digits) for certain VoIP services, seeks input from interested parties on this suggested approach, and asks specific questions about whether number portability should be mandated from the outset, or at a later stage, for these VoIP numbers.

In addition, ComReg discusses the use of other number ranges (and also ENUM), and proposes that traditional geographic numbers may be used for VoIP services, insofar as the currently existing specifically geographic characteristics apply and especially if the VoIP services are clearly substituting PSTN services, and on condition that the same rules are applied as for the PSTN (i.e. only one number per ‘line’ or termination point, allocated from the numbering area in which the customer is based).

ComReg addresses other regulatory issues surrounding VoIP, and puts numerous questions up for consultation, including as regards interconnection and interconnection charging principles, retail tariff principles associated with number ranges, caller line identification, directory enquiries, etc. and provides annexes addressing emergency services/location information, lawful interception, etc.

The deadline for responding to the ComReg consultation is 31 July 2004.

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