by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
An impending overhaul of the national U.S. telecommunications database is prompting fears the transition could spark a catastrophic failure, crippling emergency communications networks across the United States, according to industry insiders who told the Washington Free Beacon the foreign firm handling the upcoming transition may not be prepared to initiate the switch.
On April 8, a foreign firm will initiate the first phase in a Federal Communications Commission-mandated overhaul of the national telecoms database that stores and facilitates millions of American phone numbers.
The national database, known as the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC), handles millions of phone transactions each day. It is being taken over by a foreign-owned firm with a past of breaching U.S. national security clauses banning it from employing foreign workers, such as those tied to China. NPAC handles around 1.8 million phone transactions a day.
Ahead of the deadline, industry insiders have been raising concerns that iconnectiv, the firm responsible for handling the nation-wide transition, is not prepared to implement the switch, a situation that could cripple emergency services and interrupt cell service for scores of Americans.