[LINK] Numbering/identification systems

Paul Brooks pbrooks-link at layer10.com.au
Tue Nov 2 16:44:09 AEDT 2010

On 28/10/2010 12:29 AM, Max Devlin wrote:
>> Looking at the ACMA posting, I get the impression that they are still
>> trying to develop a numbering system that is device based, rather than
>> person (or role or identity) based.
> [I should think before I write so I'll re-write to better explain what I meant]
> This is a move away from fixed to portable. The later tends to be associated
> more with an individual whether the intent is there or not.
[...some deleted...]
> There are other obvious grand motives in the release. And it looks
> like it is being pushed on the ACMA. But over time this could function
> creep into an ID whether the it was the ACMAs position or not.
> It also looks like an attempt to grab "control" of VOIP and netphone and fold
> them into the gummit numbering system to stop citizens escaping their
> rulers clutches. Police were really belly aching about that a few
> years ago.
Its not really any of these to my reading. ACMA have been grappling with trying to 
work out whether strict geographic zone allocation is still relevent for many many years.
The rationale for having different area codes for different places stems from enabling 
consumers to easily work out how much a call will cost. It used to be that a call to a 
number within your local area is a cheap, untimed, local call, while a call to another 
area code was an expensive, timed call. Having this predictability of call charge has 
been seen as a major social benefit of geographic numbering. A second benefit is that 
emergency services can have a fairly good idea where you are calling from, from your 
originating number. This is important, because the triple-zero answering service is 
state-by-state based - if your call is handed to the wrong state answering centre, 
chaos erupts.

These days, many people are happy calling mobiles - which is the same charge no matter 
where the mobile might be. Many people are on plans where it makes no difference how 
far the call goes, if the total for the month is under a largeish cap. Many people are 
happy calling from mobiles, and replacing their landline with an exclusive mobile, 
which almost always charges the same regardless of whether the receiver is on the 
other side of the country or the other side of the room. The need for call charge to 
be predictable to the caller, based on the area code of the destination, has reduced.
VoIP has helped that a little, but the percentage of all calls made as VoIP is still 
very small, and this review would come along even if VoIP didn;t exist at all. Its not 
really VoIP that is driving it.

All they are asking is - do we really care if someone wants to move from NSW to QLD, 
and take their 02XXXXXXXX number with them?
Why do we force someone who moves from Melbourne to Geelong to change numbers, even 
though they remain in the same state?
Does area code matter any more?

nothing to do with VoIP, or government control - in fact, these changes would make 
government control harder, since your geonumber (and we'll need to find another term 
for them)  could then be located anywhere in the country, not just within the borders 
of a small town or city.


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