Sunday, October 16, 2005

Dutch ENUM Day 

This Friday I was invited by Adrian Georgescu to speak at The Future of VoIP in Den Haag, organized jointly by ag-projects (AG Next) and The topic of the conference was, as the name implies, VoIP, but it concentrated on the main issues - SIP, DNS and ENUM and how it all fits together. For the full program see here. Adrian and Michiel Leenaars of selected quite a broad spectrum of speakers, which was also honoured by an astonishingly large audience: about 100 participants showed up, approx. the same number the German ENUM day had two weeks before. ENUM slumbered in the Netherlands now for more than two years, but seems to get a strong wake-up call now, at least the interest seems to be raising again.

I have to congratulate Adrian and Michiel for this organizing this out-standing event and, as Adian said, this may be the first of sieies of events similar to the ENUM Day in Gemany.

Adrian announced that the presentations will be available from, in the meantime they can be retrieved from ag-projects here. My presentation can also be retrived from here.

Thomas de Haan from the Dutch Ministry of Economic affairs set the signals to green stating that it is up to the interested parties to proceed with ENUM, if the cornerstones set out by the NLEG Working Group in their final report are met.

So theoretically ENUM could be very fast on track in the Netherlands, because, as I pointed out also in my presentation, there is no need to test and trial that ENUM and the DNS works in principle - regarding DNS this is proven every day all over the world, regarding ENUM we haven proven this in Austria within the last year. The only thing required still is to set up the legal framework and the contracts, and run a pre-commercial phase to get the administrative and operational issues worked out. Also here some guidance and transfer of hands-on experience may be given, as Michael Haberler pointed out. Michael also attended, spending the last day of the RIPE meeing in Amsterdam in The Hague.

Thomas de Haan made in his presentation also some interesting statements regarding the plans to change the national (NL) Numbering Scheme to facilitate new developments such as VoIP:

The first issue is interesting regarding the current discussion in Austria on the use of geographic numbers (- I still have to post on this issue, in the meantime you have to live with Thilo's post).
  • Liberalise the existing destination of geographic numbers by introducing an “elastic band”
  • Nomadic use outside area of area code possible
  • But user’s residence should still be within area
So we have currently four different options regarding the usage of geographic numbers for VoIP in the different countries:
  1. only for POTS replacement in walled gardens
  2. only with a fixed network termination point
  3. only if you have a residence there
  4. as you like
The first is not technology neutral, the second definition causes problems already with mobile operators offering geographic numbers, leading the issue ad absurdum, the third raises the qustion how to control this.

The only reasonable alternative to start not with numbers for a technology, but since VoIP is a personal service with personal numbers has been killed everywhere by idiotic pricing and tarifs for personal numbering "services" on the PSTN. Since this happens all over the place and now also with WiFi hotspot pricing, I come to the conclusion that this is done on purpose by some people in the companies who are agains a certain service from the beginning and have on the other hand the power to influence the pricing in such a way that the service is never accepted by the public, only to be able to prove the point later: "I always said this will not be a business."

Nevertheless also the NL is trying it also:

Introduction of new non-geographic numbers:
  • 085- range (10 digits) with modest call tariffs; from zero up to ‘interlocal’ level, e.g. pure VoIP
  • 091- range (10 digits); more freedom in tariff structure, e.g. added value services

I understand the first one, but I really do not understand the second: how should this work IP-to-IP?

It will be interesting to watch the usage of this number range.

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