Free calling into these 'CITIES' but ...

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Free calling into these 'CITIES' but ...

Postby TheHardy » 06/16/2012

It has been an ongoing issue for some time. Fongo_Steve had an answer, but I am still confused by it (and people telling me "because I said so" just doesn't satisfy me - sorry Steve, no personal offense meant - I just like KNOWING!).

The issue, in short: For 'CITIES' in which Fongo does not offer DIDs (available phone numbers), the FREE area seems to include only the 'CITY' itself, and not the surrounding areas, which in traditional wireline (POTS -- aka Bell, Telus, Aliant ... landline service) would be part of the local calling area (LCA from here on out).

The term 'CITY' is used, although more correctly we should be referring to RATECENTRES -- as that is what telco's base things on, where the wires are, where the switches are, not where the municipal boundaries are -- and this sometimes leads to some confusion.

'CITIES' or ratecentres in which Fongo offers DID's are POPS (points of presence) ... other 'CITIES' are places where Fongo has some kind of telecom interconnect agreement with another carrier to provide termination/service into these areas. And from what Steve told us earlier, this is one of the reasons that the actual calling coverage is LIMITED rather than being the traditional LCA.

Most of my information comes from either firsthand knowledge, or also from local calling guide (www.localcallingguide.com) or CNAC (www.cnac.ca) or a combo of that and more.

The confusion around this comes that if either Fongo or one of the interconnect carriers is offering service into the PRIMARY ratecentre ('CITY') then any calls to that ratecentre's ('CITY's') LCA should also be free, by the very definition of what an LCA is ...

Two prime examples of 'CITIES' that have issues are Winnipeg and Halifax ... others that have popped up recently are Victoria, BC and St Johns, NL

In each of the following posts, I shall examine one ratecentre (city) in detail and note the differences.

Maybe someone from Fongo (hi Neil!) will finally take some initiative or explain the inconsistencies in depth so we can understand! :-)
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Victoria, BC (250/778)

Postby TheHardy » 06/16/2012

Victoria, BC is one of the new free calling areas that coincided with the Fongo expansion. It was a good addition, as it is the provincial capital of BC.

The VICTORIA ratecentre actually includes several munipalities around Victoria proper, such as Langford, Equimalt, Colwood etc ...

The LCA for VICTORIA actually includes SAANICH and SOOKE, but the latter two are NOT covered as free calls by Fongo. This is an abnormality, as some of the areas covered by the SAANICH ratecentre actually turn out to be within Victoria proper, just the way that the telco boundaries do not match with the municipal boundaries.

Summary: VICTORIA, BC ratecentre free calls should also include SAANICH and SOOKE.
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Nanaimo, BC (250/778)

Postby TheHardy » 06/16/2012

Nanaimo, BC is in the same boat as it's slightly southern neighbour above.

It should be noted that NANAIMO does not appear in the official list of free calling cities on the website, but has been confirmed as being one.

NANAIMO ratecentre includes the following LCA:
Cedar (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Gabriola Island (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Ladysmith (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Lantzville (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Wellington (FREE!)

So one out of 5 local ratecentres is included ...
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Winnipeg, MB (204)

Postby TheHardy » 06/16/2012

Ah, one of the grand-daddies of them. Winnipeg has been a free calling city since very early on (the start maybe?) and before the big tariff reorganization, it's entire LCA _was_ covered as a free call. However, this has changed.

WINNIPEG LCA:
Dugald (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Lockport (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Lorette (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Oakbank (partially FREE, but not completely covered!)
Sanford (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
St Adolphe (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
St Francois Xavier (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Starbuck (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Stonewall (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Stony Mountain (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)

So almost ALL ratecentres outside WINNIPEG are not included in the FREE calling area, even though they are in the LCA.
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Saskatoon, SK (306)

Postby TheHardy » 06/16/2012

Another new Fongo-era addition.

SASKATOON LCA:
Aberdeen (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Asquith (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Dalmeny (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Delisle (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Dundurn (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Langham (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Osler (not a FREE call on Fongo)
Vonda (not a FREE call on Fongo)

So 0 LCA ratecentres. Not too huge a deal though, as each of the ratecentres only has one prefix/nxx ... but still!
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Halifax, NS (902)

Postby TheHardy » 06/16/2012

Ah, another oldie but goodie. I know this particular one has caused headaches for a few users when the tariff re-alignment took place, so it IS a hotbutton ratecentre...

Halifax LCA ... (and a sidenote that Halifax ratecentre includes: Bay Road, Bedford, Dartmouth, Lake Echo)
Chezzetcook (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Elmsdale (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
French Village (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Hubbards (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Ketch Harbour (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Mount Uniacke (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Musquodoboit Harbour (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Prospect Road (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Sackville (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
St Margarets (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)
Waverley (no longer a FREE call on Fongo, but it used to be)

So all of the LCA was removed during the tariff update! :(
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Re: Nanaimo, BC (250/778)

Postby TheHardy » 06/17/2012

TheHardy wrote:NANAIMO ratecentre includes the following LCA:
...
Lantzville (not a FREE call on Fongo)


Far from being CONCRETE 'proof of the concept', one major commercial/retail area, WOODGROVE CENTRE, which is a shopping mall IN Nanaimo, has Lantzville-ratecentre phone numbers for all of it''s tenants ...

http://www.woodgrovecentre.com/
(then stores....)

Again, it is not a proof of concept, but goes to illustrate clearly that ratecentres cross municipal boundaries, and again raises the question that I have premised this thread on regarding CITIES versus RATECENTRES and the coverage of same ...
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Re: Free calling into these 'CITIES' but ...

Postby FONGO_steve » 06/18/2012

Back when Dell Voice launched the Fongo free calling areas list received several updates. Many of these updates were to expand the free calling areas to be able to provide free calling in almost all the major metropolitan areas in all the provinces - an upgrade that added a couple previously paid areas/provinces into the free calling area. We aren't able to offer DIDs in all of these expanded areas yet, but agreements are in place that allow us to connect free calls for our users into those select cities.

Any areas that went from free to non-free during this upgrade were never previously advertised as being free cities to begin with - for one reason or another they were being offered as "unofficially" free for a period of time. However, our advertised free calling area should always be taken as the area offered - any areas free that are not advertised should not be assumed to be always free.

Fongo is working hard to continually expand our network coverage and thus our free calling footprint and our abilities to offer DIDs in these cities as well. Our website will always keep you up to date on the happenings, as will signing up for our official newsletter at www.fongo.com!
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Official "semi-reply"

Postby TheHardy » 06/18/2012

Steve: Thanks for officially chiming in. It is important to see the GREEN NAMES weigh in. I was not meaning to poke anyone in the eye with a sharp stick; not my intent. I was (and am) stating the inconsistencies and just looking for answers. I appreciate your reply, and it does clear things up for some of the newer forum members ... (also, not sniping, but your reply only skirted some of the things I posted, hence my post title -- I did not mean it offensively!)

FONGO_steve wrote:Back when Dell Voice launched the Fongo free calling areas list received several updates. Many of these updates were to expand the free calling areas to be able to provide free calling in almost all the major metropolitan areas in all the provinces - an upgrade that added a couple previously paid areas/provinces into the free calling area. We aren't able to offer DIDs in all of these expanded areas yet, but agreements are in place that allow us to connect free calls for our users into those select cities.

I understand the "update" and the reasons behind it. The point that I am making with this thread in general is that it is INCORRECT to state (direct quote as above) "free calling in almost all the major metropolitan areas in all the provinces" ... the current set up is calling into the MAIN RATECENTRE of that major city ONLY, not any of the metro area ... and THAT is the whole crux of my starting this thread! The very heart of the issue, to be sure!

I know that the "agreements" on interconnection are not a subject for public discussion here, other than to just acknowledge that they exist, however, I would politely request (I know I am only a user) that someone re-visits these in a bit of detail to see if they only provide inbound termination to that SPECIFIC ratecentre or the entire LCA associated with that ratecentre (again, the crux of this thread...).

I suppose that I am a bit of a stickler on this issue (and I am sorry if it comes across as being a PITA) because I do have some knowledge in the way these things work, both on a regulatory-overview side of things, and also a technical behind-the-scenes level --- it goes back to my old-school "BBS" days (remember bulletin board systems, modems, and all that jazz?) when I was doing call-routing and arranging with other SysOps (wow, blast from the past!) to make use of off hours LD calling, PBX routing, tie-lines and all sorts of other methods of reducing telecom costs!. It is from that experience and on that level that I cannot wrap my head around how a call can be routed INTO Winnipeg proper via an interconnection agreement, but say Oakbank which is a local call from Winnipeg is NOT covered...??


FONGO_steve wrote:Any areas that went from free to non-free during this upgrade were never previously advertised as being free cities to begin with - for one reason or another they were being offered as "unofficially" free for a period of time.

I think we can all agree that the PRE-Fongo "list" was pretty pathetic, insofar as it did not have very much detail at all, and even cities in which FPL had DID's were not listed (Montreal). The only two unofficial big cities in there at the time were Winnipeg and Halifax, although they appeared in other methods (such as the softphone ABOUT window...). The NPA-807 "unofficial" thing was kind of funny to see, but that was human error. A few of the other corrections are perplexing to look at, but the shaving off of the LCA's of major cities is the sticking point that created a lot of controversy.


FONGO_steve wrote:However, our advertised free calling area should always be taken as the area offered - any areas free that are not advertised should not be assumed to be always free.

But is not proper (I will not say FALSE) to categorize them as "MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS" when it is only the specific target RATECENTRE itself -- it is -- disingenuine -- I guess that is the best word. Not quite misleading, but pretty close.

That said, who can confirm "non-listed" free calling areas? In BC, I've spotted Nanaimo and Comox as two that are not listed, but appear to have FREE calling.

FONGO_steve wrote:Fongo is working hard to continually expand our network coverage and thus our free calling footprint and our abilities to offer DIDs in these cities as well. Our website will always keep you up to date on the happenings, as will signing up for our official newsletter at http://www.fongo.com!

Thanks for that -- can we also get confirmation that this forum will also be a vehicle for announcing those updates? Is there any progress that can be stated at this time regarding the ongoing activities? Perhaps a teaser of which areas Fongo is seeking to expand DID-coverage into? Or just the well-rehersed "Stay tuned!" ??
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Re: Official "semi-reply"

Postby FONGO_steve » 06/19/2012

TheHardy wrote:I understand the "update" and the reasons behind it. The point that I am making with this thread in general is that it is INCORRECT to state (direct quote as above) "free calling in almost all the major metropolitan areas in all the provinces" ... the current set up is calling into the MAIN RATECENTRE of that major city ONLY, not any of the metro area ... and THAT is the whole crux of my starting this thread! The very heart of the issue, to be sure!


Only in some cases is it the main rate centre and not the entire metro area. Feedback has been passed up the chain to revisit the listing on the Fongo.com website where the metro areas are listed.

TheHardy wrote:I know that the "agreements" on interconnection are not a subject for public discussion here, other than to just acknowledge that they exist, however, I would politely request (I know I am only a user) that someone re-visits these in a bit of detail to see if they only provide inbound termination to that SPECIFIC ratecentre or the entire LCA associated with that ratecentre (again, the crux of this thread...).


We are positive that the way things are right now will be how they remain although there is always the possibility of change down the road. However, Fongo is working hard to bring continued expansion across the country to better service areas where our service is not currently/fully available yet.

TheHardy wrote: It is from that experience and on that level that I cannot wrap my head around how a call can be routed INTO Winnipeg proper via an interconnection agreement, but say Oakbank which is a local call from Winnipeg is NOT covered...??


Unfortunately it's beyond my position to comment on why the calling area is setup in the way it is. As we start getting our foot in the door in new parts of the country we always believe it will lead to more coverage (free calling) area.

TheHardy wrote:But is not proper (I will not say FALSE) to categorize them as "MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS" when it is only the specific target RATECENTRE itself -- it is -- disingenuine -- I guess that is the best word. Not quite misleading, but pretty close.


Per above - point passed to marketing team as word choice and/or cities chosen to be in this list will need a closer review. (We are ware we may not be perfect, but also believe we are worth our wonderful customers patience as we continue to grow and improve upon all out services)

TheHardy wrote:That said, who can confirm "non-listed" free calling areas? In BC, I've spotted Nanaimo and Comox as two that are not listed, but appear to have FREE calling.


At this time Fongo can not officially comment on any calling areas found that are not in the officially posted and supported list at http://www.fongo.com

TheHardy wrote:can we also get confirmation that this forum will also be a vehicle for announcing those updates? Is there any progress that can be stated at this time regarding the ongoing activities? Perhaps a teaser of which areas Fongo is seeking to expand DID-coverage into? Or just the well-rehersed "Stay tuned!" ??


Absolutely - as soon as anything new is confirmed for the service you'll hear about it here from FONGO_Announcements, myself, or any of our other staff.
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A detailed reply!

Postby TheHardy » 06/19/2012

I know that the forums are NOT your primary function, and therefore I thank you for the detail and effort (and time) you put into replying to my post...

FONGO_steve wrote:Only in some cases is it the main rate centre and not the entire metro area. Feedback has been passed up the chain to revisit the listing on the Fongo.com website where the metro areas are listed.

THAT would certainly clarify things; and not to dwell on wording, but that is what it comes down to. The other thing that pops up is "CITIES". Specifically for 'Surrey' (where I live), that is the CITY name ... the ratecentres that serve it are WHALLEY, NEWTON, CLOVERDALE, parts of WHITE ROCK and FORT LANGLEY. You cannot find a "city" of Newton or Whalley -- they are regions of SURREY. Yet Surrey is not listed as a calling "CITY". I understand how/why this happens, as the list you have chosen to make public is INDEED the RATECENTRES ... (to that end, find ANMORE, BURNABY, COQUITLAM in that list ... they are most definitely CITIES (or villages in the case of Anmore), but are not represented as RATECENTRES...

FONGO_steve wrote:We are positive that the way things are right now will be how they remain. However, Fongo is working hard to bring continued expansion across the country to better service areas where our service is not currently/fully available yet.

And yet that is what I do not understand ... there is no rhyme nor reason why, unless the interconnect agreement Fongo/Fibernetics has with the terminating carrier in the affected RATECENTRE has specifically RESTRICTED or limited the termination to that specific ratecentre and not the associated LCA. I have spent literally HOURS going thru the available Tariff pages on the internet from most of the CLECs and ILECs in the various areas, and there is NO REASON that I can find why a terminating carrier would LIMIT incoming termination to a specific ratecentre rather than the entire associated LCA (and let me tell you, this has made for some very bland and boring reading). With very few exceptions (Maritimes), the 'rate-bands' that may have been present in the past that would have incurred extra costs for LCA associated areas have been eliminated or greatly reduced. Now I am not a network engineer by any stretch of the imagination, nor a rates&routing guru (other than self-educated) but there is no methodology that I can find where a terminating carrier's switch would block in incoming VOIP-originated call (or any call for that matter) from being able to terminate in what that switch has programmed as a LCA number ... if the CLLI of the destination number RATECENTRE is local to the CLLI of the terminating or transitting switch (as the case may be), then the call completes as LOCAL -- unless a specific exception has been programmed in by the terminating carrier.

It is on that basis that I would respectfully ask it to be kicked back to the rates & routing folks who deal directly with the interconnection agreements for the terminating calls to take a closer look at the treatment that the terminating calls are getting from the IXC ... I _know_ that the primary "filter" is the tariff that Fongo applies to the outgoing call before it is even passed on it's own network, but if the call would be FREE on the TERMINATING carrier (or within the Interconnect agreement already in place) then it would be a case of Fongo charging for a call which is not really chargeable and turning a tidy profit ("death by a thousand cuts").

In the overall scheme of providing a product to the consumer that is not only valuable but also EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND SIMPLE TO USE would it not make sense that if you say a call to "STEVE'S PARADISE, ON" is free on the network, then the LCA of "STEVE'S PARADISE, ON" as defined by every OTHER industry standard is indeed FREE? Rather than some ubiquitous rule of "it's free only if we have DID's there, or if we say so (or if it is a full moon on the third Monday of months with more than 3 vowels)."

Without standing up and screaming, am I making the point clearly enough? I seem to think that perhaps my underlying point in all of this is getting drowned out by it seeming like I am just asking for more NPA-NXX's to be free --- that is NOT the case (but it would be nice) --- I am asking about the underlying structure of HOW Fongo goes about deciding free areas/tariffing calls ...


FONGO_steve wrote:Unfortunately it's beyond my position to comment on why the calling area is setup in the way it is. Once we start getting our foot in the door in new parts of the country we always hope it will mean more to come in that area.

And thank you for saying that -- could you please make sure that whomever is responsible for it is made aware of the issue, and perhaps this thread in it's entirety? I have tried to do my research and due diligence, use the correct terms and put forth as well a thought-out explanation of things as I can. It's really more than a marketting and/or perception thing ... As I said, it goes back to the foundations of how the calling areas are set up. Just think that if it is only a few coverage areas now, that if Fongo expands, the issue will only be COMPOUNDED exponentially (except of course if it just goes to "anything in Canada is a free call", which eliminates the problem), but I cannot foresee THAT large an expansion without many other key elements falling into place. It is kind of like the "Broken Windows" principle from NYC ...

FONGO_steve wrote:At this time Fongo will not officially comment on any calling areas found that are not in the officially posted and supported list at http://www.fongo.com

*nods*

Take it for what it is worth, Steve. I have put some time and effort into it, and it is not just grandstanding on a soapbox for maximum effect ...
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