About the NPAC

The NPAC System is part of the infrastructure for the telecommunications industry, providing the portability that supports the continued convergence of wireline, wireless, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and IP communications. Today, the NPAC is the world’s largest number portability registry, managing over 500 million telephone numbers for over 2,000 carriers across the U.S. and Canada .

The NPAC has been administered by CIS-Lockheed Martin, and then Neustar, since its inception in 1996. Read more about the NPAC, including why it exists, how it supports the ever-evolving telecommunications industry and its impact on our everyday lives.

History of the NPAC

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated Local Number Portability ( LNP ) in the U.S. to enhance local telephone service competition. CIS Lockheed Martin was awarded the initial contract to develop and administer four of the seven U.S. regional NPACs . Perot Systems was awarded the contract to develop and administer three U.S. regional NPACs and the Canada NPAC. Both vendors worked to prepare for the FCC-mandated national rollout scheduled to begin in October 1997, with completion by December, 1998. However, Perot Systems was unable to build a stable platform and meet the implementation dates. Consequently, CIS Lockheed Martin, now Neustar, was awarded the remaining U.S. NPACs as well as the Canada NPAC that was awarded by the Canadian LNP Consortium Inc.

NPAC Timeline

Scope of the NPAC

As the world’s largest Number Portability Registry, the NPAC brings together seven regional systems  across the U.S. and one in Canada, providing a level of standardization, efficiency and cost-savings that is unrivaled in the world. The NPAC enables more than 2,000 telecom carriers operating across the U.S. and Canada to securely and cost-effectively route phone calls and transfer customer telephone numbers among carriers.

 The NPAC system plays a vital role for every consumer of telephone and communications services by letting them choose providers based on price, quality, and service. For every communications service provider, the NPAC system provides fair, equal, and secure access to essential shared data and resources.

NPAC Highlights

Reliability and Value

The NPAC has a solid record of high reliability. Its modular infrastructure enables Neustar to expand capacity and add capabilities with incremental investment and without service interruption or quality of service degradation. Over the past 15 years, Neustar has successfully implemented eleven major software releases  and continuous infrastructure upgrades.

The Services Management System (SMS) database at the core of the NPAC stores and relays an enormous amount of critical data that is fundamental to the operations of the telecommunications industry in the U.S. and Canada. More than 2,000 carriers use the NPAC to publish how they want to interconnect with each other, and depend on it to ensure secure transactions with competitors. The success of the NPAC rests on its inherent neutrality  in securely storing and sharing this information efficiently and appropriately.

To insure the integrity of the NPAC database that is shared and used by competing carriers and other providers of telecommunications-related services, access and use is limited .

Today’s NPAC

As the industry has continued to evolve, so too has the NPAC. With a history of delivering innovation to support new mobility, VoIP and carrier wholesale number portability, today’s NPAC not only meets its original mandate for wireline number portability, but also supports intermodal porting between wireline, wireless, and other types of services supported by local number portability.

The NPAC enables cost-effective capacity expansion without interrupting service or degrading its quality. As communications grow increasingly rich for consumers and more complex for carriers, the NPAC is designed to continue cost-effectively support the evolving needs of the telecommunications industry.