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AAISP Offer Solution for Porting BT Fixed Line Phone Numbers to VoIP

Friday, May 20th, 2016 (9:11 am) - Score 1,500
andrews and arnold uk isp

Internet provider Andrews and Arnold (AAISP) has found a solution to one of the most frustrating problems for consumers, moving a BT based home phone line number to a VoIP provider and all without breaking your fixed line broadband connection in the process.

The old Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) was never really designed with services like Voice-over-IP (VoIP) in mind, but the market is changing and demand for home telephone (voice) services is in decline, with mobile phones taking over and VoIP based providers like Skype and Vonage becoming increasingly common.

At present many people still need one of BT’s copper lines for their home broadband (ignoring satellite, wireless, cable docsis and FTTH/P providers) and the vast majority of related providers will generally supply this with a working phone (voice) service as standard, while broadband is considered more of an optional add-on.

But going forwards this situation is likely to be reversed, with solutions like Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA) and SOGFast meaning that in the future broadband could become the default and the voice component will turn into more of an optional add-on. Further down the road we may even see BT going the way of VoIP and doing away with traditional phone services.

In keeping with this trend a number of ISPs have already noticed a rising demand for porting numbers away from BT lines and on to VoIP, which last year resulted in some providers making a Statement of Requirement (SoR) request for the introduction just such a solution. Since then a related service has been developed and one of the first providers to try and make it work was AAISP, albeit not without some pain along the way.

Adrian Kennard, AAISP’s Director, said:

“Finally I can confirm it is possible – we have done it – we have managed to port a BT landline number to VoIP without breaking the broadband on the line in question, just renumbering it to a new number.

I really should not be quite so pleased that such a simple task has been achieved, but it is one of those massive battles that has lasted well over a month with multiple emails to BT every day. At least now we know it is actually possible and can work on making this a proper product that people can order from us.”

Adrian informs ISPreview.co.uk that they charge £15 inc. VAT for the port, although he admits that the current approach for getting this to work is a bit of an “odd way around“. Essentially AAISP can take over the phone line, which is what they often do when somebody moves their broadband service to them, and then arrange to port the number out to VoIP in the process and all without killing the broadband (previously trying to port the number would cause problems for the broadband side).

The interest from AAISP is unsurprising because they are also one of the few ISPs that can offer subscribers a new copper pair line without the telephone service, which at £10 per month is a lot cheaper and closer to the wholesale price of the line than nearly all other line rental providers. Mind you the high price of their broadband usually makes up for that.

At present the service could perhaps be considered somewhat of a live customer trial, with both AAISP and BT keeping a close eye on the process. AAISP can currently make it work with their two VoIP partners (AQL and Magrathea), although in theory the number export can be to any VoIP provider and the order would just need the CUPID and Prefix.

However most VoIP providers are not geared up for this type of port, so you may need to ask AAISP first if you wish to shift your number to somebody else. The other issue is that at present this process may only work with BT based lines (WLR3) and numbers (i.e. where BT are the range holder). Meanwhile fully unbundled lines (MPF), such as those provided by TalkTalk, have yet to be supported due to some complex problems that need to be ironed out first.

Never the less this is a useful development and hopefully more providers will be able to offer something similar in the future.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. GNewton

    Interesting. Though I think for the time being it is much easier to have a naked VDSL service from AAISP, and then use a new VOIP with one of their own numbers.

  2. Alex

    How is that any different from using a standard CPS over Ipx system? This way there is no need to port anything. Either way you still have to pay the rental for the copper line.

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