Ofcom, the UK’s telecoms regulator has confirmed that voice over IP services will use the 056 prefix, first reported here in February.
The new prefix will give all VoIP users a fixed number, so will be able to place calls with subscribers who have signed up for different VoIP services. It will also allow non-VoIP subscribers to make calls to VoIP numbers.
Ofcom are leaving the assignment of numbers down to VoIP providers. 056 numbers will not be geographic, as was originally feared, meaning that subscribers can be contacted wherever they are. Having a geographic VoIP number makes about as much sense as a geographic mobile number, and we’re glad someone saw sense.
Stephen Carter, Ofcom Chief Executive said “Broadband voice services are a new and emerging market. Our first task as regulator is to keep out of the way.” In this spirit, Ofcom has begun a new consultation to receive input on what needs to be done to protect the users of this nascent industry. Traditional telephone companies have number of regulations to comply with before they can offer a service to the public, such as ensuring access to the emergency services, and Ofcom wishes to explore what subset of these obligations should be applied to VoIP providers.