ImageOver the Summer 2004, the French regulatory authority ART informally consulted operators and other interested parties on regulatory issues surrounding Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). T-REGS provided input to some parties' responses.

Today, the ART issued a formal consultation document on a technical subset of relevant issues, specifically the hand-over of calling party localisation data at the interconnection interface in the context of the use of non-geographic telephone numbers (in France 087B numbers are currently being used to support certain VoIP-enabled services, whilst geographic numbers are being used to support other VoIP-enabled services).

The essence of the ART proposal is to include postal code data, plus two digits to be defined at a later stage, in the information that is handed-over via the interconnection interface for certain types of calls, not only mobile calls, but now notably also VoIP calls.

The ART addresses issues such as number translation for emergency services access, billing for certain interconnection services (in particular mobile call termination, which in France is subject to an access area structure) and issues surrounding various advanced services which rely on multiple platforms for non-geographic number translation.

The ART's affirmed goal is to facilitate interconnection negotiations between operators (using the traditional French SSUTR2 protocol, or the more recent SPIROU protocol which is a French adaptation of ETSI ISUP standards), and not to impose mandatory regulations.

In essence, the ART is proposing to extend document ART/ST/NRT/1-97/ed3 from 1997 (last modified in 1999) to apply not only to mobile interconnection, but also to certain forms of fixed interconnection, notably VoIP, in order to ensure that localisation data can be handed-over via the interconnection interfaces.

Postal codes, plus two further digits (the contents of which are to be determined at a later stage) are proposed to be added to the string to be handed-over at the interconnection interface.

Responses to the ART's consultation document are invited by 11 Oct 2004.

The full text (in French) of the ART consultation document can be accessed by clicking here.

For a discussion of the ART's proposals, please contact Yves Blondeel.