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The NPAC

Today, we take for granted that we can keep our telephone numbers when we change communications service providers—something that wasn't possible just 15 short years ago. But thanks to the Number Portability Administration Center, the NPAC, the system that enables local number portability in the U.S. and Canada , consumers can freely switch between service providers and retain their telephone numbers.

Depending on your age, you may recall a time when most people had one home telephone number and based on that telephone number, it was easy to identify the state, city and even the neighborhood where a person lived. But times have changed and the number and types of devices used to communicate have changed. People switch between communications service providers and yet, they are able to keep the same telephone number. Today more than ever, consumers, both individual and business, have telephone numbers that serve as their identities and they depend on multiple types of devices that are connected to a telephone number.

All enabled by the NPAC.

In 1996, the Communications Industry Services (CIS) division of Lockheed Martin (now Neustar), implemented the first NPAC registry, a common, authoritative database to enable local number portability  (LNP) in the United States and later, in Canada. The data managed by this shared resource is used to route, rate and bill  calls with respect to telephone numbers no longer assigned to the original carrier or code holder. The NPAC is also used by providers to perform network maintenance in connection with the provision of telecommunications-related services. The foundation of the NPAC is its databases, but "The NPAC"  is a complex Service Management System (SMS) governed, supported and shared by competing communications service providers. It crosses and serves multiple communications technologies and is the most complex number portability system in the world.

"The NPAC" Highlights

Number portability is a global trend and has been implemented in more than 54 countries and is a symbol of telecom market openness in a country. Number portability is considered an important vehicle in leveling the competitive landscape that ultimately enhances the entire industry in an open, global economy. Neustar has implemented number portability in the U.S., Canada, Taiwan and Brazil.

While there are other number portability systems in the world, the NPAC is the largest, holding more than 500 million telephone numbers. The NPAC was the first number portability system and is unique in a number of important ways:

  • The NPAC supports emerging technologies and is the only number portability system that supports multiple communications technologies in a single repository.
    • 1998—wireline number porting begins
    • 1999—wireline number pooling introduced
    • 2000—intra-carrier pooling for network maintenance began
    • 2002—wireless number pooling implemented; began supporting customer technology migrations
    • 2003—wireless, intermodal (between wireline and wireless) and wireless inter-carrier porting begins
    • 2007—interconnected VoIP porting begins
    • 2010—IP fields implemented
    • 2011—one-day simple port porting required for small carriers
  • Industry competitors work together as the LNPA WG  to make recommendations to local number portability that serve the interests of the entire telecommunications industry.
  • Administered by a neutral, third party. Neustar, as the neutral NPAC Administrator , is trusted to provide competing providers with fair, equal and secure access to the NPAC platforms and services.

Explore the NPAC website to learn about local number portability  LNP) and the NPAC—the history , importance and evolution of a system that supports the fast-changing needs of the communications industry. The NPAC serves as a trusted, neutral  and reliable system that functions so well we don't even know that it's there!

About the NPAC

Learn the history, scope and relevance of the NPAC to the telecommunications industry.

Neutrality

The NPAC provides competing carriers with fair, equal and secure access to essential shared data and resources.

NPAC Regions

There are eight regional NPACs – seven serving the United States and one serving Canada.