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International Telecommunication Union
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Internet Telephone Numbering System (ENUM) offers promise of a single point of contact for all communication devices

Countries wishing to implement ENUM system can now do so.

Geneva, 31 May 2002 — The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) announce approval of interim procedures for ENUM, the technology that builds a bridge between the public switched telephone network and the Internet.

Under the proposed ENUM protocol, and subject to national authorities and end-user approval, it will be possible for consumers to use a single number to access many types of terminals and services, such as: phone, fax, e-mail, pager, mobile telephones, websites or any other services available through an internet addressing scheme. "This is an important step in convergence of ICT’s for the consumer whether at home, work or while roaming," says Roy Blane, Chairman of the study group responsible within the Telecommunication Standardization Sector of ITU. "In the long term this protocol will allow many new services to be provided. In the short-term, countries wishing to implement trial systems can begin to work on developing it."

Two key applications that ENUM will make possible for the first time is the ability to call a PC from the public-switched telecommunication network (PSTN) and to easily determine what type of terminal is associated with the number. Some analysts predict that this will permit the introduction of new innovative applications where a call to a telephone number can invoke Internet type services. For example, calling an ENUM-enabled telephone number from a 3rd generation multimedia handset could allow access to a location-based mobile web service, thus avoiding entering Internet-type addresses on numeric keypads.

In keeping with the need to allow for voluntary implementation of the scheme and recognizing that ENUM services are primarily national issues, rapid progress at the international level is necessary to create a stable environment in which investment can be made in the worldwide deployment of ENUM.

This interim approval is made possible due to cooperation between ITU, IAB and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). According to Patrik Faltstrom, IETF Area Director of Applications, "The fact that we’ve managed to agree on our respective roles in regard to this standard pays tribute to the strength of these organizations and the synergies that can be gained through cooperation."

Information on how the ENUM requests will be processed can be found here

About ITU

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a global organization where the public and private sectors cooperate for the development of telecommunications and the harmonization of national telecommunications policies. Study Group 2 of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), where work on ENUM is being carried out, is the Lead Study Group on Service definition, Numbering, Routing and Global Mobility and is responsible for the operational aspects of service provision, networks and performance. More information on the ENUM protocol, and the issues related to it, can be found here

About the IETF

The Internet Society — a professional membership society with more than 150 organizational and 6,000 individual members in over 100 countries — is the sponsor of the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). The Internet Engineering Task Force is an international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. The definition of the ENUM protocol, as proposed by the IETF can be found here

For further information, contact:

Mr Roy Blane
Chairman, ITU-T Study Group 2
Tel: +44 207 728 1276
Fax: +44 207 728 1778

Mr Richard Hill
Counsellor, ITU-T Study Group 2
International Telecommunication Union
Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB)
Tel: +41 22 730 5887
Fax: +41 22 730 5853

Ms Leslie Daigle
Chair, Internet Architecture Board
Tel: +1 703 948 3385

Mr Patrik Faltstrom
Area Director of Applications, IETF
Tel: +46 70 605 9051



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