There was a time when consumers had to change their telephone number when switching service providers. That changed when local number portability (LNP) was mandated as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act was designed to increase competition among service providers, stimulate demand for telecommunication services and encourage technology innovation. Today, nearly everyone in the U.S. can port their phone number.
The Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) is the system that supports the implementation of LNP and is used to facilitate number porting in the United States. Comprised of seven regional systems across the U.S., the NPAC supports number portability for all telecom Service Providers in the United States, including wireline, wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers.
Since the NPAC contains proprietary data from thousands of telecommunications service providers - many of which are in direct competition with each other - access to NPAC data is limited to specific, permitted uses. Becoming an authorized NPAC user is limited to service providers, service bureaus and Providers of Telecom-Related Services (PTRS).
While NPAC authorized users are service providers, service bureaus and PTRS, other entities are permitted to access certain data including: