NICC Standards Limited develops telecommunications technical interconnect and interoperability standards, but only when international standards cannot be used or adopted for use in the UK. NICC feeds standards information into international standards bodies to minimise and identify the problems associated with differing requirements in different administrative domains. NICC members, both vendors and operators, have implemented these standards in the UK for more than three decades.
NICC Standards Limited often works in conjunction with or at the behest of Ofcom, as demonstrated by the creation of a specialised new NICC Task Group to support Ofcom in their recent investigations into the use of emerging technologies for the management of UK telephone numbers.
NICC Standards Limited has been, and continues to be, very much involved with defining interoperability standards for the emerging networks that over the next few years will replace the traditional TDM based UK PSTN with a SIP based telecommunications network. As well as working on the standards NICC, through its members, continues to be active in promoting the implications of the change to SIP networks to users of the PSTN such as the banking, alarms and telecare industries, local authorities, health trusts and others.
Originally, the standards developed by (the first inception of) NICC ensured that the two operators of the Duopoly (formed in the 1985 with BT and Mercury for fixed; but including Hull for fixed, and Cellnet and Vodafone for mobile) interconnected technically to ensure successful end to end connections between all UK customers.
Over the years following the end of the Duopoly, with the steady increase in the number of operators, UK standards have become increasingly important to maintain network and service functionality when calls traverse and terminate on different networks.
Typically, the UK standards NICC develops cover all technical aspects, layers and services of telecommunications interconnect –
- Architecture specifications
- Signalling interworking and transcoding specifications
- Transport layer standards such as;
- NGA telephony
- Service Descriptions, Guidelines and Information Notes
In the last few years, NICC standards have enabled a raft of telecommunications advances, including –
- The introduction of High-speed Broadband to support services such as;
- Video streaming
- Enable the successful continuation of business in the Covid lockdowns as more people work from home with more people using MS Teams, Zoom, etc.
- The support of Ofcom General Condition of Entitlement C6 regarding Calling Line Identification facilities, and helping to trace nuisance calls over and between UK networks
- The development of a UK profile for enterprise networks to connect successfully to the main UK network, and guidance to prevent theft of service by fraudsters
- Overload control between networks specified to prevent major network outages
- Provided best practice and security documentation to the industry based on collaboration with major trade bodies
- Understanding the impact of the implementation of STIR in the UK