800 numbers vs. IP addresses (was Routing wars pending?)

Thu Nov 16 14:56:02 UTC 1995

Alan Hannan asked:
>  What are the correlations and contrasts between our current
>  backbone routing problems (wrt space and # of routes) and the FCC
>  decision several years ago to make 1-800 numbers portable.

There is a major difference between ownership of IP network numbers and 
telephone number portability: the economic benefits of ownership of 
addresses are not comparable to those of ownership of telephone numbers.
As far as I know, the economic benefits of network number ownership are 
confined to cost avoidance related to re-numbering.  

A major argument for ownership of telephone numbers (and especially 
freephone  - e.g., 800 - numbers) is that the subscriber makes an investment
(by advertising, letterhead, etc)  getting knowledge of a subscriber's phone
number to customers, friends, and other correspondents. 

Since the knowledge (as used by humans) of how to reach a "subscriber" on
the Internet is encoded in a DNS name and not in an address, no comparable 
argument can be made for ownership of addresses.

Stephen Geis
geis at itu.ch

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