Number Portability – Taking Your Number With You
Number portability is the ability to keep your telephone number when you change providers. For example, if you had the phone number 555-434-2457 with your AT&T landline, you can change to Charter and keep the 555-434-2457 number. (Note that this only works if you change providers – not locations.)
If You Experience Problems when "Porting" Numbers
Generally, number portability occurs seamlessly and invisibly when you change telecommunications providers. However, the process does require your old and new providers to make a number of simultaneous network changes to keep your calls flowing, and in very rare occasions this can go awry. Contact your new providers, but if that is not effective, please contact the PSC.
Geographic Number Portability
To date, the network does not have the ability to port landline numbers outside the geographic area to which they were originally assigned. This is because telephone numbers are, in effect, maps, with the first three numbers (the area code) defining a portion of a specific state, and the next three numbers (called the NNX) defining a neighborhood. Breaking that geographical linkage is technically feasible, but would impose considerable costs on both providers and customers. Both the PSC and federal authorities are working on evolving the network to make geographic number portability possible, but that capability is still several years off.