RESPORG - RESPonsible ORGanization
Toll Free "800" number programming in the USA.
First, there's this "myth" that Toll Free "800" origination is "FREE".
It IS free to the calling party - the person dialing the number.
It IS NOT free to the subscriber of the Toll Free Number.
Toll Free is really REVERSE BILLING, kind of like a collect call, but prepaid by the subscriber of the Toll Free Number.
Toll-free numbers in the North American Numbering Plan (known as INWATS, or Inward Wide-Area Telephone Service) are sometimes referred to as "800 numbers" after the original area code which was used to dial them. They include the area codes 800, 888 (since 1995), 877 (since 1997), 866 (since 2000), 855 (since 2000), 844, 833 and 822 (the last three are not yet active but reserved).
In 1991, the F.C.C. issued order to make 800 numbers fully portable by March 4, 1993. In 1992, the FCC extended the deadline to May 1,1993.
Number Portability means that toll-free numbers are not associated with a particular carrier. Subscribers can switch to another carrier without changing their toll-free number(s), and they can choose separate carriers for specific kinds of traffic. Before number portability, toll-free subscribers were locked into their carriers. They could not change those carriers without changing their 800 numbers.
Who is your RESPORG?
Normally, it is your carrier, the company you pay for the Toll Free service. The carrier wants all of your traffic and will not route it to any other carrier. It makes sense for them. This way they make all of the money.
There are a few INDEPENDENT RESPORG companies. That will program ANY carrier or MULTIPLE carriers for the same number. If you understand the telephone network, you can save a lot of money with an Independent Resporg.
WHERE ARE THE 800 NUMBERS?
To keep track of which toll-free numbers are available for new customers and which numbers are already taken, a centralized database holds information on each toll-free number. That database is the 800 Service Management System, commonly known as the SMS/800.
The SMS/800 is a massive, central database maintained under a tariff mandated by the F.C.C. RESPORGS normally connect through a portal with SBC in St. Louis, Missouri.
Changes and additions to the SMS/800 Toll Free database are sent to the Service Control Points (SCPs). There are approximately 20 mated pairs of SCPs spread throughout the United States and Canada. The network is quite sophisticated in that records are "pruned" prior to being downloaded to the SCPs. This process assures that only those SCPs which are expected to handle traffic related to an individual toll-free number have a record associated with that number. The process also reduces the SCP storage requirements by only downloading that portion of the customer record that involves the territory covered by that particular SCP.
Routing of Toll Free numbers takes place at the NETWORK level BEFORE it ever hits the IXC's switch.
Time-of-Day (TOD) Routing. One of the simplest ways to influence the destination of the call is by using time-of-day routing. An example of using TOD routing would be if you had a call center on the east coast and a call center on the west coast. TOD routing would enable "Follow the Sun" routing. The east coast center opens first and calls are sent to that destination earlier in the day. As the time changes across the country, additional coverage would be offered by the call center in the west, or even overseas.
Day of Week (DOW) or Day of Year (DOY) Routing. Depending on the day of the week and business practices, not all call centers operate 24x7. Some centers may be closed for weekends or holidays. DOW routing allows alternate routing for calls that arrive on specific days. DOY routing allows for alternate routing on fixed holidays.
Area Code or Exchange Routing. Toll free traffic may also be routed depending upon the location of the caller. For instance, if a company has call centers in the north and in the south, they may express a preference to have their southern callers speak with people in the "local" call centers. You may also wish to take advantage of the difference in interstate rates versus intrastate rates. Actually, you can route calls all the way down to the 10 Digit telephone number. A call from 903-555-1212 can be routed to 801-555-2222.
Percentage Allocation Routing. If you have multiple call centers, the you can choose to route calls across a number of call centers on a percentage basis. For example, a technical support company with five call centers may choose to allocate 20% of all incoming traffic to each center.
All-Trunks-Busy Routing. If at a given time, you trunk facilities can no longer handle the incoming traffic, an alternate destination may be chosen. This assists you handling unexpected call volumes or during crisis times.
Blocking. Calls can be "blocked" or sent to a network recording "...this number is not available from your calling area...". And, yes, all of the above routing types can be sent to a recording.
Database Updates. When a number is programmed, the changes take place in about 15 minutes. If your carrier tells you it will be a few hours or days, then that's the time it takes them to process, not the network.
DISASTER RECOVERY All of these capabilities support disaster recovery. As long as traffic is flowing to two or more carriers, traffic can immediately be moved off a carrier that is having network problems. In as little as 15 minutes the record can be changed to eliminate the carrier that is down and just as quickly changed back when the carrier's network is restored. This same option will cover you if ONE of your Asterisk boxes fails, traffic is routed to another box in another area of the country.
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