PSTN

One Number to Rule the World

Transient

Earlier this week it was announced that the Greater Toronto Area would be receiving two new area code overlays this spring, 437 and 375. Mark Goldberg has an interesting discussion on how many numbers that is, and what it really means. The explosion of wireless devices is being blamed for the increased numbering requirements. 

Up until recently, our household had 8 phone numbers associated with it. We regularly have between 16 and 20 IP addresses active on our internal home network. We could easily increase that number by activating some 3G services on various tablets, but we're cutting back ;-D

It seems silly that two people generate that much number waste. In a perfect telecom world, I'd have 1 domain name, and maybe three or four IPV6 addresses, and all of the devices would have a find me follow me feature. I'd connect to the internet and the world would be able to find me, and vice versa. No more phone numbers. Once DNS takes over the PSTN, life will become infinitely easier to manage, certainly from a translations and numbering perspective. Gone will be the day of end offices and toll switches. Hello wireless and wifi and broadband. It's already converging in carrier core backbone networks and international call routing at the carrier level. Now it's just a waiting game until IP makes it way to the great unwashed masses.

Unfortunately, until we push the boundaries of universal broadband or wireless coverage, we're going to have to deal with the copper last mile in Canada, and the use of old school phone numbers. Couple that with the fact that 1 in 6 households doesn't own a computer yet and it becomes dauting to think of a life without the old Public Switched Telephone Network.

It's encouraging that 95% of Canadian households with a computer are connected to the internet. Of that 95%, only 30% have high speed access - another disappointing statistic. Maybe in my lifetime we will be able to switch to a pure IP communications world, but I'm not optimistic. Until then, I suppose I'll just have to deal with my eight phone numbers :-\

Canada Gets the Cold Shoulder by Voice Apps

A few years ago I was mesmerized by the idea of Grandcentral coming to Canada, but then all went quiet… Shortly thereafter, Grandcentral was purchased by Google, and boy! For sure they will expand to Canada now!

Grandcentral became Google Voice, and in the past few months Google Voice has come back into the limelight, but still no love for Canada.

Skype could have been a contender, with its SkypeOut capabilities. Still, no maple leafs for Skype.

Why are global providers deciding to leave Canada on the backburner? We can blame the recession for a certain amount of hesitation on the lack of movement, but the biggest trick is that it’s expensive to open up a *free* voice service in Canada. Even if there’s a monthy service fee, our carriers aren’t yet really ready to push IP to the PSTN. Carriers aren’t all that keen to give away market share at rock bottom prices, and for Google or Skype to try and build their own networks, the geography and addressable market for the service isn’t all that lucrative.

Canadians interested in next gen voice apps are going to have to sit tight, consider a foreign phone number, or even a change of address. ;-)

It’s not going to be until the CRTC changes foreign ownership and competitive influences that there will be changes driven into the way technologies are delivered to the consumer. It’s an eventuality, perhaps even in my lifetime.