In Wake of Hurricane Ida FCC Waives Number Aging Rule

Hurricane Ida as seen from the International Space Station on Aug. 29, 2021
(Image credit: European Space Agency)

The FCC has issued another Hurricane Ida-related waiver, and signaled it will apply to other storm-hit areas in the future.

But it also is seeking some reciprocity from the companies to which it is giving the waivers.

Also Read: FCC Extends Auction Payments, Citing Ida

The Commission said Tuesday (Aug. 31) that, for a period of nine months, it would waive its telephone number aging rule, which says that voice service providers can only "age" a number for 90 days before it has to reassign it to another customer.

Waiving the rule will service providers to temporarily disconnect their phone service to avoid billing issues for customers dealing with the aftermath of the storm, then reconnect with the same number.

The waiver applies to all providers in areas of Louisiana and Mississippi affected by the storm, but the FCC is looking ahead and with a wider gaze. "This waiver of the aging rule will also apply, without need for further action by the Wireline Competition Bureau, to residential customers in other areas for which the President declares states of emergency, either due to Hurricane Ida or to later storms during the 2021-22 hurricane season," the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau said.

The bureau said that because of the anticipated "substantial damage" in the aftermath of the storm, it was "encouraging" service providers in affected areas to do some of their own waiving, specifically of "call forwarding, message center, and voicemail service charges" to the extent they can.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.