[LINK] Fears for telephone number system

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Nov 2 18:07:36 AEDT 2010

Thanks, Paul. I suspected the article was wrong, but was distracted and 
didn't give it thought at the time ...

On 2/11/10 4:45 PM, Paul Brooks wrote:
> On 25/10/2010 4:06 PM, Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
>> <brd>
>> Solving one problem nearly always creates other problems.
>> cf the battery issue as well as the one described below.
>> </brd>
> As well as the other comments about VoIP (or rather, V-o-Internet, which is NOT quite
> the same thing), its worth pointing out the original press article was grossly and
> materially incorrect.
>> Fears for telephone number system
>> Lucy Battersby
>> SMH
>> October 23, 2010
>> http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/fears-for-telephone-number-system-20101022-16xw8.html
>> AUSTRALIA'S telephone numbering system could be thrown into chaos as
>> more calls are made on mobile networks and more people use
>> internet-based telephone services that do not require geographic
>> information to connect a call.
> This depends on your point-of-view - emergency services and 000-answering groups
> regard the geographic strictness to be helpful, and any reduction in certainty of
> location of the caller as chaos. For most other people, relaxing the constraints on
> moving your current number to a new location would be a great leap forward.
Ignoring VoIP, the chaos already exists in mobiles; and the mobile 
location indicator technical discussions are still ongoing as far as I 
can tell ... a very long deliberation!
>> The technology changes place more stress on emergency services, which
>> receive geographic information from fixed-line calls to triple-O, and
>> businesses that send fixed calls to 13-numbers to the nearest shopfront.
> This part is true - the triple-zero answering people like strict geographic
> allocation, for good reasons.
>> The regulator responsible for the numbering plan, the Australian
>> Communications and Media Authority, is expected to start consultations
>> in coming weeks to avoid problems and amend the plan.
>> Area codes and local identifiers such as 03 for Victoria and 9836 for
>> Camberwell are used by the copper telephone network as a map to send
>> calls to certain states and exchanges, with the last four digits sending
>> the call to a particular port within the exchange.
>> But telephone calls made over a fibre broadband connection, known within
>> the industry as voice over internet protocol (VOIP), are sent to an
>> internet address and not a physical location. This means it is
>> technically possible for telephone numbers to be taken from any location
>> in Australia to another. It is a similar concept to email, which is sent
>> to an internet address, not a geographic location.
>> All telephone calls will be sent over the internet when the national
>> broadband network is built to replace the copper telephone network.
> WRONG. Telephone calls made through the PSTN ports will be carried over IP, but will
> not be sent over the Internet, and won't be portable to different locations any more
> than the current number allocations are. Currently, you order a new service, and you
> get allocated a number associated with the street address of your service. Precisely
> the same thing will happen under the NBN, for NBN-enabled services, which are tied to
> the physical port of the ONT at a particular location. To movee the number to a new
> locatoin requires the cooperation and reprogramming from NBN Co and the ISP, it is not
> controlled by an external customer-owned equipment that can be picked up and moved.
This is something that's poorly understood everywhere. "Over IP" may or 
may not be "over the Internet". There's no technical reason Telstra 
could not replace everything behind the local exchange with an IP-based 
private backbone, but the relationship between my number and a specific 
exchange port would still exist.

I don't know the status of the technology refresh in Telstra, but some 
of the architecture slides presented in Sol T's day envisaged exactly 
this - I think they anticipated using six softswitches for the national 
network when the technical refresh was first announced. Disclaimer: I 
didn't re-read the documents so I may be wrong!

> Of course, if you choose to bypass all that and make calls over the Internet, nobody
> can tell where you are when the call is made - just like now. The NBN does nothing to
> change that, the NBN is immaterial.
>> While it may be convenient for consumers to keep the same fixed-line
>> number permanently, it could create chaos if households with area codes
>> are allowed to take their number when moving interstate.
> I suspect the journo has generated this story after speaking with someone from the
> triple-zero answering service - chaos is in the eyes of the beholder
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