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Phone Number' Internet Addressing Gains Support

A simpler Internet-addressing system proposes allocating every individual one number to use for their mobile phone, email address, instant messaging and faxes.

Korea has joined the group of countries backing a simpler Internet address method that could theoretically give everyone a Web presence through a telephone number.

The simpler Internet electronic numbering system, known as ENUM, was first conceived in Europe and allows people to use one identifier for many different purposes, including mobile phones, email, instant messaging and faxes.

Theoretically, online users can access a person's contact information, including their email address, simply by typing in the person's phone number in the Internet address field of the Web browser.

According to the Korea Herald, the country's Ministry of Information and Communication planned to commercialise ENUM technology earlier this year, but was delayed due to technology problems. This project is part of the ministry's efforts to catch up with the global trend of telecommunication and Web infrastructure convergence.

In May this year, Australia also released plans to adopt the Enum system. The Australian Communications Authority encouraged companies in the country to support public trials of Enum, and has invested AUm to develop the technology.

The United States also announced plans to back Enum earlier this year. Enum is designed to accelerate the convergence of the telephone network and the Internet, and is expected to offer a huge boost to online telephony services.

When ENUM domains become active, users will be identified by their telephone number including the country code. What that means is a phone number such as +46-8-9761234 would be mapped to the Internet address in a process that is expected to become automated and transparent to the user.

ENUM grew out of the Internet Engineering Task Force's Telephone Number Mapping working group, which drafted the RFC 2916 proposed standard in September 2000.

So far, 13 countries that are members of the International Telecommunication Union have signed on to the e164.arpa proposal and plan trials. The group is coordinating international efforts.


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