Text of the Telephone Number Ownership Act of 1996

This resolution was introduced on May 10, 1996, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of May 10, 1996 (Introduced).

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Source: GPO



2d Session

H. CON. RES. 175

Expressing the intention of the Congress with respect to the collection of fees or other payments from the allocation of toll-free telephone numbers.


MAY 10, 1996

Mr. FRISA (for himself, Mr. KING, Mr. TAUZIN, Mr. COBURN, Mr. FIELDS of Texas, Mr. KLINK, and Mr. WELLER) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce


Expressing the intention of the Congress with respect to the collection of fees or other payments from the allocation of toll-free telephone numbers.

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),


    This Act may be cited as the ‘Telephone Number Ownership Act of 1996’.


    The Congress finds that--

      (1) under existing law, the Federal Communications Commission is the administrator, not the owner, of telephone numbers, and has no authority to auction, or impose user fees for, any number within the North American Numbering Plan, nor does any other Federal agency;

      (2) auctions of toll-free numbers will increase consumer fraud and confusion by allowing competitors to profit from the established reputation associated with existing toll-free numbers;

      (3) there are a total of 21 countries in the North American Numbering Plan, including the United States of America, Canada, and most Caribbean countries, and decisions affecting universally available toll-free numbers should not be made without a consensus among the participating nations;

      (4) the value of a toll-free telephone number is derived solely from the efforts of the holder to create value in it; and

      (5) the right of first refusal for companies with toll-free numbers that have become a unique brand identity will ensure that customers reach their intended service provider.


    It is the sense of the Congress that--

      (1) the Federal Communications Commission lacks legal authority to conduct auctions or other revenue raising activities in connection with the allocation of any number within the North American Numbering Plan;

      (2) if the Congress is to authorize such activities, procedures will be required--

        (A) to protect any value attaching to new toll-free numbers by reason of a private business investment in the advertisement or public awareness of the corresponding 800 number, by granting a right of first refusal or other protection to the subscriber to that corresponding 800 number;

        (B) to prevent unjust enrichment and inefficient use of toll-free numbers by measures designed to prevent speculation, hoarding, and other ‘gaming’ of the allocation system; and

        (C) to protect consumers from fraud and confusion by preventing the misrepresentation of established toll-free numbers; and

      (3) the Federal Communications Commission should submit to the Congress a plan for the allocation of toll-free 888 numbers that contains procedures described in paragraph (2), together with its recommendations for legislative authorization of such allocation.