CLI Changes

Those of you watching the telecoms news lately can’t have failed to have missed the announcements regarding CLI (Caller Line Identification) guidance from Ofcom.

Ofcom is the overseeing regulatory body for the telecoms industry in the UK, and is involved with all aspects of legislation or guidance for those operating in the sector.

The latest announcements are regarding the changes to CLI guidance.

Basically, this affects telecoms providers, and the way they need to ‘present’ calls to the network.

As a VoIP Provider, SureVoIP® is bound to follow the new guidelines.

This will mean some changes to the way we work. The changes may also mean some changes for our customers.

As a Communications Provider, SureVoIP® has the responsibility of keeping ahead of legislative changes.

As a result of this, we will have to make some changes to how we work. This in turn may affect some of our customers.

To give some background to the situation – CLI (Caller Line Identification) provides information to the person who has been called regarding the person who is calling them.

The change which Ofcom has made is to achieve some consistency throughout this process.

Up to now, the CLI Data which was being passed through the system was open to abuse, with either inaccurate data or no data at all being passed along.

Ofcom has decided that this system needs refreshing.

The existing legislation from Ofcom states that:

Callers must be able to withhold their number, either on all calls or on demand (for example, by dialling a prefix)

Called parties must be able to prevent callers from displaying their number (for example, help-lines who offer anonymity to callers)

Communications Providers must provide the option for a called party to reject anonymous calls

Called parties must be able to withhold the calling party’s number

Communications Providers must provide information to the public regarding CLI services.

There is a balance to be struck here. On one side, we need to allow the freedom to our users that the proposed changes seek to implement. On the flip side, we have to allow data to be transmitted for some technical telecoms reasons.

For instance, the CLI information is invaluable to the Emergency Services, and could literally mean the difference between life and death. Consider the case of someone requiring immediate medical help. If the person places the call, but then passes out, or becomes unintelligible during the call, before they have managed to pass on their address, then the CLI information could prove a lifeline. The Emergency Services would be able to attend the scene and assist.

This is one of the considerations of the new changes, and should, like the other proposed changes, prove a positive benefit.

The new Guidance places certain obligations on us regarding how phone calls are delivered. Ofcom has altered the data required to accompany a phone call.

After the new Guidance comes into play, Communications Providers will be obliged to deliver some enhanced data to the overall UK telecoms system, and deliver it in a different way.

The change should ensure that all Communications Providers exchange CLI data with improved accuracy, and that this data is valid and up-to-date.

As we touched on earlier in this post, the most important aspect of this to bear in mind is access by the Emergency Services.

Unreliable CLI data could mean that the Emergency Services would not be able to attend a 999 call. Closing any loop-hole which detracts from the CLI system functioning is only good news for the general public.

It also gives the advantage of tightening up the system which protects us from nuisance or fraudulent phone calls. With more reliable data being passed behind the scenes, the chances of catching fraudsters increases.

As you can see, there are a number of advantages to be gained from the Guidance changes. As well as the fraud protection, we should also see an increase in Emergency Services efficiency.

We’ll keep our Blog updated as we find out more.

How We Got Connected

18 months ago, we began the laborious process of building our SS7 Interconnects with BT (in Edinburgh and London). We knew this would be a lengthy, time-intensive and expensive process. The reason we embarked on this project was to increase SureVoIP's network capability, and create a platform for growth that would outreach our competition.

After significant investment of time, resources and hard cash we have completed the climb to the top of the SS7 mountain. And the future looks amazing from our new vantage point!

 

We are very excited to be able to continue our strategy of innovation and technical expertise, and the completion of this project is a landmark on this journey.

 

In keeping with our ethos of delivering the best possible VoIP service, we decided to move towards the SS7 (Signalling System No. 7) Interconnect. It allows us to provide the highest possible level of service to customers and Partners.

 

The Interconnect works connecting us to the heart of the national PSTN network – a fancy term describing the public phone network (the infrastructure which delivers all traditional phone calls and internet over copper or fibre cables).

 

The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is governed by Ofcom, the Industry Regulator. This monitoring extends to SS7 Interconnects, and is more stringent at this level. Factors such as uptime and pricing policy are closely monitored, giving aded reassurance to customers. This is a major point scored over our competition. We are proud to be transparent, conscientious and honest, and this monitoring empahises this commitment.

 

Ofcom regulation gives customers a level of reassurance not available from other providers, who do not submit to this regulation.

 

Our service is appealing to potential customers through our innovative product line, which we continually develop in response to customer demand. SureVoIP® itself offers a stable, reliable and trustworthy telecoms provider, having operated for 6 years and satisfied the needs of a varied client base.

 

Not being a Reseller of the products of a larger company's products marks us as unique in Scotland. Moving from a reseller position to an independent provider position was one of the factors motivating us to complete the SS7 Interconnect.

 

As a result, our network infrastructure stands head and shoulders above the competition.

 

Feel free to read more about our Network, or see more blog articles to read about VoIP generally.

This article also features on the Scottish Business News Network.

 

03 Or Not 03: A Guide To Your UK Number Options

You may have noticed a creeping trend towards companies advertising 03 numbers, rather than a traditional UK number (one that starts with 01 or 02).

This blog article aims to guide you through the differences between these numbers, and help you decide which may be best for your company.

An 03 number is a UK telephone number (beginning with the numbers '03'), which isn't tied to any geographic area. They have been introduced in order to give transparency as to call costs, and to provide callers with an alternative to costly 084 and 087 numbers. 084 and 087 numbers can come with a hefty price per minute charge per call. These numbers are income generating for the company which provides it. If you call a company on a number beginning 084 or 087, you will be charged a per minute cost which gives income to that company or organisation (or their telephone company).

Dialling an 03 number costs no more than a standard land-line call, and is included in mobile providers' standard tariffs. For some time, the telecoms industry has been putting steady pressure on number-holders to move away from 084 and 087 numbers. They have a bad reputation regarding possible costs per call, and callers are rightly wary about calling them. Telecoms companies, and companies which advertise these numbers, are coming under increasing pressure to use an 03 number instead.

An 03 number works in many scenarios, and can be a better option than a standard 'geographic' number (one beginning 01 or 02). It can work well if you don't wish to advertise a specific location, but rather a nation-wide presence. If your company sells to all areas of the country, it may well work to your advantage to advertise a national 0330 number.

The reverse is also true. If you deal mainly with a local market, the familiarity of a local area code could well be reassuring to customers.

So, the conclusion is, work out who you wish your numbers to appeal to. If you wish to create a national presence, not tied to any one area, then an 03 number could be just what you are looking for. If you deal with a predominantly local market, who wish to deal with a local company, then a telephone number with this area code could well be the best option.

Guide to 03 numbers

Number

Purpose

0330, 0333

Standard phone number for any purpose. Not linked to a specific geographic area.

0300, 0303

For charity or not-for-profit use only.

0343, 0344, 0345, 0370, 0371, 0372

For companies to migrate existing 08 equivalent number to. Customers can call a similar number to the one the company has advertised previously but without the associated costs.

If you wish to discuss any of the above in detail, just get in touch.

If you wish to see the telephone numbers we can offer in your local area, please visit our home page and use our number search function.

See more on Ofcom's regulations regarding 08 numbers.

SureVoIP offers 0330 numbers for free, let us know if you would like to try one out for your business. We offer many telephone numbers from our Ofcom number ranges. Why not ask and see if we can assist you?

 

Important changes to non-geographic numbers – UK Calling

There are some major changes being introduced to non-geographic numbers on 1st July 2015 by Ofcom. Ofcom has called them UK Calling.

This is because when you make a telephone call to a service number – one beginning 08, 09 or 118 – it’s not always clear how much it will cost. That will soon change, under a new system that will make the cost of calling service numbers clear for everyone. It affects all calls from consumer mobiles and landlines to 08, 09 and 118 numbers. Please see the following UK Calling website links:

  1. What’s happening?
  2. Guide for businesses to the UK Calling changes
  3. FAQ

 

If you have any questions, please contact support@surevoip.co.uk

Thank you,

SureVoIP.

Free 0330 numbers (as many as you’d like!)

We’re excited to offer any existing or new customer 0330 numbers for free. What are 0330 numbers?

  1. A non-geographic number charged at the same rate as calling 01/02, i.e. location independent as classified by Ofcom
  2. A type of number included in most mobile phone bundles
  3. Gives a UK wide presence when 01/02 isn’t quite right for you or your business.

If you’d like some free 0330 numbers, please choose them from the SureVoIP number search tool and contact us!

 

SureVoIP is now an independent IP network operator and 2014

Dear all,

Some of you will already know that currently SureVoIP rents servers in London and owns and co-locates some in Edinburgh. This is all about to change. Those of you that follow SureVoIP on Twitter and read the SureVoIP Blog or have chatted to me personally at GraniteExpo 2013 last month will already know all about this.

As of now we are an independent ISP, but more specifically an Internet Telephony Service Provider in our own right. We made our first test VoIP call last week across are new network. Here are the details and what you can expect this to bring to our SureVoIP Partners, your customer and our direct customers. This has been fully self-funded (and fully paid for outright) via your hard work which is now almost fully deployed:

  • Juniper and Cisco based with an on site 4 hour response support SLA
  • Full Out of Band management network
  • RIPE LIR – https://stat.ripe.net/as199659
  • IPv4 and IPv6 based using our directly assigned IP address allocations
  • Based in Telehouse East – full rack and directly contracted with Telehouse
  • Small PoP in Edinburgh which will be expanded once we join IXScotland
  • Level3 Tier 1 provider for transit – directly contracted with Level3
  • NTT Tier 1 provider for transit – directly contracted with NTT
  • Members of LINX (London Internet Exchange) –  Check the members page – https://www.linx.net/about/memberlist/letter/S
  • Fluidata interconnect for full UK coverage in order to for us to provide internet connectivity which is VoIP optimised. This includes ADSL, FTTX, EFM, Leased lines, VPLS and MPLS services (we can start doing quotations for you now)
  • Interconnect/peering with current ISP partners
  • Interconnecting with BT Wholesale (via physical fibres) and existing carriers
  • All on-net access meaning VoIP calls from our internet products do not cross the public internet
  • Those of you that wish to host VoIP equipment with us and be physically connected, now can be
  • SLA’s when using our own connectivity products
  • New SIP security platform allowing fully encrypted SIP trunks (which is currently only available on hosted handset calls)
  • IPv6 VoIP ability
  • Broadband with no general internet access for security, allowing low cost VoIP optimised connectivity directly in to our platforms
  • New dual services using SRV records and/or two IP addresses, no more Primary and Secondary
  • Much more contracted control with less hops (try pinging/traceroute to 185.8.92.61-62 versus sip.surevoip.co.uk)
  • Connected to the core of the UK internet
  • Microsoft Lync compatible SIP trunks using new security platform (including Office365 Enterprise)
  • Members of IXScotland Steering Committee
  • New public access contacts platform available via our public LDAP servers – ldap.surevoip.co.uk – sync with LinkedIn, Google etc.
  • New portal coming for billing with call packages, partner access, per customer tariffs and discount, nice invoices with call stats and graphs which is all driven by the SureVoIP API
  • Partner access monitoring platform to monitor your customers IP networks and services

as well as all of above the following things are ongoing:

That’s a lot to digest and I’m sure you have tons of questions! We’ll keep you updated on the migration plans and new IP addresses too.

Lastly, don’t forget our opening hours for the Christmas period.

Thanks,

Gavin.

New types for UK Telephone numbers incl 0800 and 0845: Silver and Bronze

Hi all,

We’ve just re-classified all our numbers, including our 0800 and 0845 UK telephone numbers, which makes it easier to find the number you like. We now have one-off costs for UK memorable phone numbers of:

  1. Platinum – £500 ex VAT
  2. Gold – £250 ex VAT
  3. Silver – £125 ex VAT
  4. Bronze – £50 ex VAT

 

If you go to the SureVoIP front page you can pick one there, as well as when checking out on the SureVoIP hardware store. Of course, they are all available via the SureVoIP VoIP API as well.

Thanks.

SureVoIP Launches Innovative API

Aberdeen-based communications company SureVoIP has just launched an innovative API (application programming interface) which will provide an even better service for customers and partners and allow 100% self-service and interaction with the SureVoIP suite of products and services.

To ensure communications with other products and services, the company has just launched what is believed to be UK VoIP’s first publicly available and documented Application Programming Interface (API) beta of this kind.

Commenting on the move, SureVoIP managing director Gavin Henry said: “It is vital for us to remain at the forefront of technology and it is anticipated that this API will further enhance our ability to provide the broadest possible spectrum to all customers and partners, existing or potential.

“The SureVoIP API can be used to send SMS messages, faxes, generate telephone calls, manage accounts and telephone numbers, subscribe to event notifications and use a feature called OAuth 2.0 which allows third parties to create Apps like those for Twitter and Facebook.

“Various partnerships have been put in place to maximise adoption and many of our existing customers are already incorporating this API into their Mobile App strategy. Because of this, SureVoIP has also started development work on its own mobile app for customers and partners as well as a long list of exciting new ways to make a telephone call.”

SureVoIP is regulated by Ofcom, is a member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) and is a finalist in that organisation’s 2012 awards. The company is also the holder of an ITSPA Quality Mark accreditation. For further information visit www.surevoip.co.uk or call 01224 900123 or email sales@surevoip.co.uk

Notes to Editors

SureVoIP is a leading Internet Telephone Service Provider and is part of the Suretec Group. Based at Bridge of Don, Aberdeen the company has worked in locations as diverse as Canada, Nepal, the Netherlands and the Seychelles. The company is a member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) and is regulated by Ofcom. For further information visit www.surevoip.co.uk or call 01224 900123.

SureVoIP short-listed as a finalist in the ITSPA Awards in the Best Business ITSP category

A quick update to say that following extensive testing SureVoIP have been short-listed as a finalist in the ITSPA Awards in the Best Business ITSP category

We now have our own 0845 Numbers!

Just a quick update. When we applied for our Ofcom number allocations last year prior to going live, there were no 0845 numbers left. Well, last Thursday I saw that a range had become free and we applied for 10,000 numbers and were awarded them by Ofcom last Friday!

We now have 0845 235 0000 – 0845 235 9999 and will be offering some early bird discounts for all the gold and platinum numbers in that range.

They will not go live on the public telephone network until February, but we will keep you posted when the offers start.

If you would like some, please let me know. They will be billed at the usual rate per month (£4) after the one-off fee for the gold and platinum numbers.

If there is anything else you need, please just let me know and have you checked out our new hardware store – http://www.surevoip.co.uk/store ?

Thanks,

Gavin.