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U.S. Moving Forward with ENUM

Phillip J. Windley

One of the pieces of infrastructure that makes all kinds of networks work and yet gets very little attention is the directory. Directories are big business. For example, there's directory of telephone numbers run by NeuStar, Inc. NeuStar has annual revenues of $92 million. Now, according to Light Reading, AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., together with unidentified cable companies, telephone companies, and ISPs are preparing to form a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that will run a process to define a new company that will run ENUM (Electronic Number Mapping).

Moves are being made in the U.S. to create an organization that will be in overall charge of a directory that will link phone numbers to URLs, and thus IP addresses…

The group aims to incorporate the as-yet-unnamed contracting agency by June, issue an RFP in the fourth quarter, select a vendor in the first quarter of 2005, and sign a contract by the second quarter of 2005. (The schedule is subject to change.)

According to the group's current plan, the LLC will be a not-for-profit entity funded by fees from member companies. "As a vision in the back of our heads, we have the local number portability LLC in the U.S. and Canada," says Karen Mulberry, senior project manager for numbering at MCI, who is heading up formation of the agency.

The ENUM directory is the infrastructure that will link phone numbers to URLs, and thus IP addresses. ENUM is crucial to the development of widespread VoIP services. The ENUM directory promises to be more lucrative than NeuStar's business, so I'm sure there will be some hard fought competition to win the ENUM contract. In general, I think there's missed opportunity in directories and not enough businesses fully develop the potential of the directories under their control.

By Phillip J. Windley, Author & Consultant
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Related topics: Enum, Networks, Telecom, VoIP
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