RespOrg

responsible organizationResponsible Organizations (Resp Orgs)
In the North American Numbering Plan, a RespOrg (a contraction for responsible organization) is a company which maintains the registration for individual toll-free telephone numbers in the distributed Service Management System/800 database.wikipedia
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Toll-free telephone number

toll-freetoll-free number800 number
In the North American Numbering Plan, a RespOrg (a contraction for responsible organization) is a company which maintains the registration for individual toll-free telephone numbers in the distributed Service Management System/800 database.
In the United States, Federal Communications Commission regulations mandate that numbers be allocated on a first come, first served basis; this gives vanity number operators who register as RespOrgs a strong advantage in obtaining the most valuable phonewords, as they have first access to newly disconnected numbers and to newly introduced toll-free area codes.

North American Numbering Plan

Area codeArea codesArea code(s)
In the North American Numbering Plan, a RespOrg (a contraction for responsible organization) is a company which maintains the registration for individual toll-free telephone numbers in the distributed Service Management System/800 database.
The toll-free telephone numbers with NPAs 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844 have been portable through the RespOrg system since 1993.

Somos, Inc.

Number Administration and Service Center
While this data was originally maintained by telephone companies, the breakup of the Bell System in the 1980s and the introduction of toll-free number portability in 1993 required an independent operator maintain the SMS/800 database.
Somos, Inc. administers the assignment of Toll-Free Numbers in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) This company has been designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to administer the Service Management System (SMS) Database for Responsible Organizations (Resp Orgs) and service control points (SCPs), as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 52 Section 101 and stipulated in 800 Service Management System (SMS/800) Functions Tariff - FCC No. 1. Its implementation of this database is known as "SMS/800".

Toll-free number portability

number portabilityported to any carrier
While this data was originally maintained by telephone companies, the breakup of the Bell System in the 1980s and the introduction of toll-free number portability in 1993 required an independent operator maintain the SMS/800 database. RespOrgs were established in 1993 as part of a Federal Communications Commission order instituting toll-free number portability.
The system was redesigned in 1981 to use a database, the SMS/800 service management system, which could direct any toll-free number to any destination based on various conditions; number prefixes remained tied to specific carriers until a RespOrg (responsible organisation) structure was introduced in 1993 (US) and 1994 (Canada) to allow subscribers to change providers by providing a Letter of Authorisation (LOA) on company letterhead to their new provider authorising a number to be moved.

Wide Area Telephone Service

InWATSWATS WATS lines
In the 1950s, a collect call or a call to a Zenith number had to be completed manually by a telephone operator; by 1967, a direct-dial +1-800 number could be provided using Wide Area Telephone Service, but each prefix was tied to a specific geographic destination and each number brought in on special fixed-rate trunks which were priced beyond the reach of most small businesses.
RespOrgs were established in the U.S. in 1993 and Canada in 1994 to provide toll free number portability using the Service Management System (SMS/800) database.

Vanity number

Vanity Numbers
There was no means to select between rival carriers and little room for vanity numbering; a subscriber would need three separate numbers to be reachable from Canada, US interstate and US intrastate.
SMS/800 and RespOrg and Toll-free telephone number#Vanity numbering

Toll-free telephone numbers in the North American Numbering Plan

1-800 numbers833888
Toll-free telephone numbers in the United States
The toll-free long distance market was opened to competition after 1986 and a RespOrg system instituted in 1993 to provide toll-free number portability between rival carriers using the SMS/800 database.

Phoneword

mnemoniclettersphone word
An independent RespOrg may also hold an advantage in obtaining vanity phonewords by reserving recently disconnected numbers for its clients in the first few seconds after they become available.
This changed after Roy P. Weber of Bell Labs patented a "Data base communication call processing method" which laid the initial blueprint for construction of the SMS/800 database in 1982 and the portable RespOrg structure in 1993.

Domain name registrar

domain registrarregistrarregistrars
Their function in North American telephony is analogous to that of an individual registrar in the Internet's Domain Name System.

Domain Name System

DNSresource recorddomain
Their function in North American telephony is analogous to that of an individual registrar in the Internet's Domain Name System.

Federal Communications Commission

FCCFederal Communications Commission (FCC)Federal Communication Commission
RespOrgs were established in 1993 as part of a Federal Communications Commission order instituting toll-free number portability.

Collect call

1800 Reversecollectcharges reversed
In the 1950s, a collect call or a call to a Zenith number had to be completed manually by a telephone operator; by 1967, a direct-dial +1-800 number could be provided using Wide Area Telephone Service, but each prefix was tied to a specific geographic destination and each number brought in on special fixed-rate trunks which were priced beyond the reach of most small businesses.

Zenith number

WX numberZenithZenith" X-XXXX
In the 1950s, a collect call or a call to a Zenith number had to be completed manually by a telephone operator; by 1967, a direct-dial +1-800 number could be provided using Wide Area Telephone Service, but each prefix was tied to a specific geographic destination and each number brought in on special fixed-rate trunks which were priced beyond the reach of most small businesses.

Switchboard operator

telephone operatoroperatoroperators
In the 1950s, a collect call or a call to a Zenith number had to be completed manually by a telephone operator; by 1967, a direct-dial +1-800 number could be provided using Wide Area Telephone Service, but each prefix was tied to a specific geographic destination and each number brought in on special fixed-rate trunks which were priced beyond the reach of most small businesses.

Small business

small businessesmom and popsmall business owner
In the 1950s, a collect call or a call to a Zenith number had to be completed manually by a telephone operator; by 1967, a direct-dial +1-800 number could be provided using Wide Area Telephone Service, but each prefix was tied to a specific geographic destination and each number brought in on special fixed-rate trunks which were priced beyond the reach of most small businesses.

Bell Labs

Bell Telephone LaboratoriesBell LaboratoriesAT&T Bell Laboratories
A "Data base communication call processing method" patented by Roy P. Weber of Bell Labs (and implemented by AT&T in 1982) broke the link between individual numbers and a specific trunk, city or carrier.

Load balancing (computing)

load balancingload balancerload-balancing
A toll-free number was merely an index into a large, distributed database; any number could geographically be reassigned anywhere merely by changing its database record or sent to one of multiple locations based on the call origin, load balancing between multiple call centres or time or day.

Call centre

call centercall centerscall centres
A toll-free number was merely an index into a large, distributed database; any number could geographically be reassigned anywhere merely by changing its database record or sent to one of multiple locations based on the call origin, load balancing between multiple call centres or time or day.

Breakup of the Bell System

breakup of AT&Tdivestiturebreakup
While this data was originally maintained by telephone companies, the breakup of the Bell System in the 1980s and the introduction of toll-free number portability in 1993 required an independent operator maintain the SMS/800 database.

Least-cost routing

least cost routingLCRleast cost
A large subscriber with more complex requirements could use an independent RespOrg to direct calls for an individual number to multiple carriers for least-cost routing or to provide disaster recovery.

Single point of failure

single points of failurecentral point of failurecauses the entire circuit to "open" or stop operating
A number which reaches multiple call centres via multiple carriers can be configured to avoid any single point of failure; any change to a number's routing can be propagated throughout the network in fifteen minutes.

Incumbent local exchange carrier

incumbentILECwireline incumbent
There are approximately 350 RespOrg services, which range in size from huge incumbent local exchange carriers to companies that control only a few numbers.

Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions

ATIS
The guidelines are maintained by a national industry group known as the SMS/800 Number Administration Committee (SNAC), a committee of the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, and membership is open to any RespOrg.

Overlay plan

overlayoverlaidoverlay area code
In practice, weak and sporadic enforcement of these regulations allows some resporgs to abuse the system to stockpile millions of toll-free numbers for advertising purposes, requiring periodic creation of overlay plan toll-free area codes to prevent exhaustion of the SMS/800 available number pool.

PrimeTel Communications

In 2010, six RespOrgs operated 1.9 million toll free +1-800 numbers out of the 7.8 million possible numbers and were also occupying millions of numbers in other toll-free area codes.