Column: FCC Approves Telcordia for Local Number Portability

By Matthew Friedman of Technology Law Group

The Federal Communications Commission has unanimously approved the recommendation of the North American Numbering Council (NANC) that Telcordia serve as the next local number portability administrator (LNPA).

The LNPA is charged with administering the local number portability database and ensuring that the porting of telephone numbers occurs in accordance with FCC rules, as well as administering various services and systems utilized by law enforcement and public safety answering point personnel to identify service providers.

The LNPA also manages the so-called “Wireless Do Not Call” list, which telemarketers utilize to identify numbers that have been ported from wireline to wireless service and prevent against violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and other telemarketing rules.

While Telcordia will not become the LNPA unless and until the FCC and Telcordia come to mutually agreeable terms, the FCC’s decision to choose Telcordia comes at the expense of Neustar, which had held the LNPA contract since the creation of the position 18 years ago.  In support of its decision to switch the LNPA, the FCC noted that both Neustar and Telcordia had similar evaluation results with respect to both technical and management capabilities, but that Telcordia’s rankings in these areas were higher. The FCC also relied upon a cost analysis, which is substantially redacted in the public version of the FCC’s order, but appears to suggest that Telcordia’s bid was lower than that of Neustar.

The FCC rejected numerous procedural arguments made by Neustar, including that the FCC’s LNPA selection process requires notice and comment rulemaking, which was not completed, that the LNPA selection process involved an unlawful delegation of authority by the FCC, that the selection process was tainted by numerous decisions that favored Telcordia to the expense of Neustar and that the selection process violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  On April 6, 2015, Neustar appealed the FCC’s decision to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, reiterating these arguments while emphasizing that the FCC’s process has led to the selection of an LNPA that is neither neutral or impartial – due in part to Ericsson’s contracts with numerous US telecommunications companies and requested that the FCC’s order be held unlawful and be vacated.

Absent a reversal of the FCC’s decision on appeal, the loss of the LNPA contract, which constituted nearly fifty percent of Neustar’s revenue in 2013, will be a major blow to Neustar’s business.  Another major contract – for the administration of the North American Numbering Plan – was most recently awarded to Neustar for a third time in 2012.  Under that contract, Neustar manages the integrated telephone numbering plan for twenty North American countries, including assigning resources, coordinating area code relief planning and collecting utilization and forecast data from service providers.  Neustar’s current NANP administrator contract is set to expire in 2017.

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