We have received a few inquiries from faculty and staff on campus regarding the transfer of their existing campus telephone system number (a telephone number that starts with 893-) to an off-campus provider of telephone services (e.g., Vonage or Cox). The transfer of an existing telephone number from one provider to another provider is called "local number portability" or "porting." More information regarding local number portability is available from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
UCSB is not a telephone service provider under the FCC's regulations because we are not registered with a Public Utility Commission to provide service to the general public; we provide service only to the members of the UCSB community, and so these regulations do not apply to UCSB.
While some may believe they should be allowed to port an 893- number to an off-campus provider even though it is not required by the FCC regulations, we have not yet done so, and we believe the porting of 893- numbers is not in the best interests of the campus community for the following reasons:
- We have a contract with Verizon under which we pay them a monthly fee for all "dialable" 893- numbers. A "dialable" number is a four-digit number starting with the digits 1 through 8 (i.e., numbers 893-1000 through 893-8999). We do not contract for numbers starting with 0 (that's our Operator) or 9 (that gets you an off-campus circuit). Under this contract Verizon forwards all calls that they receive from anywhere in the world to any of these 8,000 numbers to the UCSB campus switch. The campus switch then determines if the dialed number is connected to a phone on campus; if not, it provides the caller with a recorded announcement (out of service).
- We can return unused numbers to Verizon, but only in blocks of twenty numbers. So, to port a single 893- number to an off-campus provider, we would have to reassign new numbers to anyone else using a number in the same 20-number block. For example, if your number was 893-1000, we would have to reassign new numbers to everyone else in the range of 893-1001 to 893-1019. Everyone else in this range of numbers would have to agree to change their 893- number. Even if the other people agreed to a number change, we suspect (but don't know for sure) that the person who wants to use the 893- number with an off-campus service would be charged by Verizon for this entire block of 20 numbers.
- If someone did port their 893- number to an off-campus service provider, other customers using the campus telephone switch would have to know to dial 9-893-xxxx to reach that customer with the ported number, or they would reach a "not in service" recording on the campus telephone system, which would be very confusing.
- Calls to emergency services (e.g., 9-911) are routed based on the telephone number and the capabilities of the telephone service provider. Some VoIP telephone service providers are not able to process 911 calls in all cases and you may have to sign a waiver indicating your agreement that 911 calls may not be completed. If an 893- number were ported to an off-campus provider and the person using that ported number dialed 911, there is no assurance that the call would be routed to the UCSB Police Department.
Because of the inconvenience, potential confusion, and expense of having to move so many other customers to enable porting of a single number to an off-campus provider, we have established a departmental working policy of declining to port 893- numbers to some other provider.