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Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geo Nos 2010 (Read 43,883 times)
bbb_uk
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #105 - Mar 31st, 2011 at 12:58pm
 
Dave wrote on Mar 30th, 2011 at 7:52pm:
I'm reading the consultation document and the bit about making freephone numbers free from mobiles.

If it is to be the case that users of 0800 numbers will have to pay more to receive calls from mobile phones than they do for landlines, then this may result in some blocking calls from mobiles.

Where this is so, the mobile providers could perhaps allow a free to caller message giving out an alternative geographic or 03 number that a SP can be called on. It's not ideal, but if some numbers are to be barred (by the SPs themselves), then it might be an option they'd like to explore.
but I thought the mobile providers said it was too costly to introduce free to caller messages so I cant see them doing this.  Plus, mobile providers (OCPs) don't have a list of any underlying numbers that 080x are translated to so they would have to rely on the SPs themselves to provide an alternative number.

If SPs do decide to block calls from 080x numbers then the end company being called is more inclined to provide a geographical/alternative number on their own website I'd have thought (well hope lol).
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #106 - Mar 31st, 2011 at 2:05pm
 
bbb_uk wrote on Mar 31st, 2011 at 12:58pm:
Dave wrote on Mar 30th, 2011 at 7:52pm:
I'm reading the consultation document and the bit about making freephone numbers free from mobiles.

If it is to be the case that users of 0800 numbers will have to pay more to receive calls from mobile phones than they do for landlines, then this may result in some blocking calls from mobiles.

Where this is so, the mobile providers could perhaps allow a free to caller message giving out an alternative geographic or 03 number that a SP can be called on. It's not ideal, but if some numbers are to be barred (by the SPs themselves), then it might be an option they'd like to explore.
but I thought the mobile providers said it was too costly to introduce free to caller messages so I cant see them doing this.  Plus, mobile providers (OCPs) don't have a list of any underlying numbers that 080x are translated to so they would have to rely on the SPs themselves to provide an alternative number.

Reading back what I put, I don't think I explained what I'm thinking well.

It would be the SP's operator (TCP) that would play the message, and not the OCP (mobile network). The OCP would have to keep the line open for long enough so as to let the caller hear the message. This will be (assuming that it can be enforced by regulation) free to caller and will (I assume) work on much the same principle as the network based number change announcements (those that give out a party's new number).


bbb_uk wrote on Mar 31st, 2011 at 12:58pm:
If SPs do decide to block calls from 080x numbers then the end company being called is more inclined to provide a geographical/alternative number on their own website I'd have thought (well hope lol).

If they do provide parallel freephone and 01/02/03 numbers, then they really should promote the 01/02/03 number for mobile callers. The announcement I'm talking about will be intended as a way of informing those who don't know about (or don't appreciate why) the 01/02/03 number is given. So SPs won't simply promote the 0800 number, leaving mobile callers to hear the message.
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« Last Edit: Mar 31st, 2011 at 2:09pm by Dave »  
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #107 - Mar 31st, 2011 at 2:10pm
 
bbb_uk wrote on Mar 31st, 2011 at 12:58pm:
Dave wrote on Mar 30th, 2011 at 7:52pm:
I'm reading the consultation document and the bit about making freephone numbers free from mobiles.

If it is to be the case that users of 0800 numbers will have to pay more to receive calls from mobile phones than they do for landlines, then this may result in some blocking calls from mobiles.

Where this is so, the mobile providers could perhaps allow a free to caller message giving out an alternative geographic or 03 number that a SP can be called on. It's not ideal, but if some numbers are to be barred (by the SPs themselves), then it might be an option they'd like to explore.
but I thought the mobile providers said it was too costly to introduce free to caller messages so I cant see them doing this.  Plus, mobile providers (OCPs) don't have a list of any underlying numbers that 080x are translated to so they would have to rely on the SPs themselves to provide an alternative number.

If SPs do decide to block calls from 080x numbers then the end company being called is more inclined to provide a geographical/alternative number on their own website I'd have thought (well hope lol).

I am struggling to get my head around this one.

The mobile companies already have to provide free PCAs on 0800 calls, unless they are waiving the charge to caller. Surely this obligation would be taken away, not introduced!

I believe that once the business of inflated termination rates and who pays for mobile network access is resolved, there will be no essential difference between the cost of receiving a 0800 call from a mobile as against any particular landline - the whole thing is averaged out anyway.

The problem for 0800 users will be in the increased volume of calls, and perhaps a change in the quality of the calls. That is where the cost will bite.

I cannot see what the refusal message has to do with the mobile companies. Why cannot the user of the 0800 number not give out the message when declining to answer any call that they wish not to receive. This would surely be much cheaper than paying each mobile company to host a "free to caller" call redirect message for their customers when they dial a particular number.
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #108 - Mar 31st, 2011 at 2:31pm
 
Dave wrote on Mar 31st, 2011 at 2:05pm:
Reading back what I put, I don't think I explained what I'm thinking well.

It makes a little more sense in the revised form, but I still cannot see why the mobile companies need to treat these cases differently from any other. They should just connect the call and leave it to the recipient to decide what to do with it. I cannot think why someone worried about cost would want to pay for calls to their number to be handled differently by originators.

Network based number change announcements are given out to all incoming callers, not after calls have been filtered at the discretion of the recipient.

I am now yet more confused on reading about the promotion of 01/02/03 numbers to mobile callers. This is a workaround for the present situation where 0800 numbers are not free to caller. For those who retain 0800 numbers after they become free to call from mobiles, there will be no issue.

Once landline and contract mobile users catch on to the fact that geographic rate numbers are free to call, if they choose the correct package, then the need for 0800 numbers will diminish. They will however be needed for those on PAYG mobiles - assuming that PAYG mobiles (in the sense of pay per call as you go) survive the upcoming change to mobile charging!
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #109 - Apr 5th, 2011 at 10:48pm
 
Very interesting response to the consultation by the BMA GPC. It appears that Dr Buckman is living in a fantasy world and wishes Ofcom to make it true for him. I do hope that Ofcom will respond to his request for information and bring him down to earth with a bump.
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #110 - Apr 5th, 2011 at 11:45pm
 
This sort of "rubbish" makes my blood boil (the BMA response).

It appears the author of the letter wouldn't know a "local call" if it walked up to him and smacked him in the face.  Pity for him that a "local call" technically does not exist.

The sooner Ofcom/DH/NHS and anyone else stops spouting about the cost of a "local call" the better off we shall all be, and we can start to properly educate people on call costs.

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« Last Edit: Apr 5th, 2011 at 11:46pm by CJT-80 »  

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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #111 - Jun 18th, 2011 at 11:04pm
 
The Telegraph has a feature today :---
"
Consumers' most hated little rip-offs"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/8577427/Consumers-most-hated-...

Of all the numerous rip-offs which prey on us and spoil our daily lives it is hated phone numbers which are second highest in the public list of most hated rip-offs.  Second worst for generating anger in the opinion of the general public are rip-off phone numbers  --- something Ofcom should take note of and ensure they take action upon.   According to a consumer Poll by MSN Money it is these that make people angriest.   Although there is no definition of what they mean by premium rate numbers there can be little doubt that it is the most common numbers, the 0843/4/5 and 0870/1/2/3 ranges that are the problem, rather than the 09 numbers.

This is the text as published :---

"Premium rate phone numbers came in second place, with 16% of the vote. Simon Ward, Senior Editor of MSN Money, commented: “At a time when every penny counts, it’s clear that most of us are fed up of these little rip-offs, which ultimately all add up. While some are avoidable, many are not, which makes them all the more galling.”

For those enthusiasts for this type of information this is the list of top ten most hated rip-offs :---

Being charged extra for not paying bills by direct debit
Rip-off phone numbers
The price of food and drink at cinemas
Hidden/additional flight fees
Ticket booking fees
Automatically added tips/service charges
charges for petrol station air pumps
foreign transaction fees on overseas spending
Charges for using public toilets
Temporary ‘bonus’ savings rates



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« Last Edit: Jun 18th, 2011 at 11:07pm by loddon »  
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #112 - Sep 23rd, 2011 at 10:59am
 
loddon wrote on Dec 21st, 2010 at 9:37am:
An excellent comment in The Telegraph which makes the point very succinctly that I have been promoting.

Pericles
12/17/2010 10:01  
All non-geographic numbers should cost the caller the same as from a land-line (01/02/03).

Where businesses, government departments &c. — for their own convenience or any other reason — choose to use a non-geographic number, any additional cost ought to be borne by those organizations, not by the caller.


Very well said, Pericles   Wink Smiley Smiley

Ofcom --- please take note.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/mobile-phones/8207327/0800-numbers-should-...

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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #113 - Sep 23rd, 2011 at 1:18pm
 
jakmar wrote on Sep 23rd, 2011 at 10:59am:
loddon wrote on Dec 21st, 2010 at 9:37am:
...

There are very many situations where it is wholly inappropriate or improper for a caller to incur a "Service Charge" from the person being contacted by telephone. This applies to almost all public service providers and many enquiry services from commercial organisations.

I suspect that the comment does not relate to "Premium Rate Services", which would simply not exist if not paid for by the caller, although this point is not made. I suspect that the comments are only intended to address "Business Rate" numbers.


It is argued that there are some cases where it is appropriate for the caller to make a contribution towards the cost of handling their call, rather than this being carried entirely by customers in general or taxpayers - who ultimately fund "the organisation". I personally have my doubts about whether there are that many cases where a contribution of up to 10p per minute is worthwhile, given that the call originating telephone company will add an access charge. At this level, the "Service Charge" would never cover the full cost of handling the call, and so would seem to be a little pointless.

I am however prepared to accept that if there is a significant demand for this facility then Ofcom must allow it to continue. The obvious rider is that the "Service Charge" must be declared by the "Service Provider" and the "Access Charge" declared by the telephone company. If both are prepared to accept this essential condition, then I see no reason why the practice should be outlawed.


I believe that the demand for this facility, under these conditions, may be much less than Ofcom believes. Given Ofcom's present understanding of what consumers of telephone service want, we will have to wait to see what happens once these conditions have been imposed.

The fact that some "Business Rate" numbers - 0871/2/3 - are currently subject to the present cost declaration requirements for "Premium Rate Services" could be seen as an indication that users are content to declare a "Service Charge". This is however potentially misleading, as the price declaration requirements allow them to refer only to the cost of calling via BT, whilst BT is prohibited from adding an "Access Charge". When this prohibition is lifted and it becomes necessary to refer to the additional cost of an "Access Charge", the situation may change.


It could be that "Business Rate" will become a rarely used facility, which may mean that the objective suggested (if I understand it correctly) will have largely been achieved. One benefit of this indirect route to the same point is that it avoids what some would describe as an unwarranted regulatory intervention.
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic Nos
Reply #114 - Dec 8th, 2011 at 7:52pm
 
Members may be interested to read the following from the Ofcom Draft Annual Plan 2012/13 on pages numbered 28 and 29 (31/32 of the pdf).

Quote:
Implement new regulatory framework for non-geographic calls

5.11 Non-geographic calls are those made to 03, 05, 070/076, 080, 0845, 0870, 083/4, 0871, 09, 116 and 188 numbers. Consumers use these numbers to call businesses and government agencies, to get information, make payments for services and vote on radio and television shows. In 2010/11, we proposed a simpler approach to non-geographic calls, including exploring the option of simpler number ranges and more standardised charges.

We will be publishing a detailed proposal for regulation in early 2012 and will take forward this work into the next financial year, subject to consultation.

5.12 Alongside a new approach to the regulation of non-geographic calls, we also intend to consult during 2012/13 on a specific set of regulatory rules for non-geographic calls. We will work with industry to implement these rules as quickly as reasonably possible, so that consumers can benefit from a simpler, clearer regime.

For those looking for the difference between the two consultations, and potential regulations, it is found in the second requiring the involvement of "industry". Ofcom itself can regulate the telecoms providers and, through PP+, users of numbers that are classified as being used for PRS. I believe, and have argued strongly, that to get effective cost declarations in place for 084 calls, this is better done through alternative channels of regulation, direction and standard setting.

I may be premature, we will see what happens in the new year.
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic
Reply #115 - Dec 9th, 2011 at 6:15am
 
bbb_uk wrote on Mar 31st, 2011 at 12:58pm:
Dave wrote on Mar 30th, 2011 at 7:52pm:
I'm reading the consultation document and the bit about making freephone numbers free from mobiles.

If it is to be the case that users of 0800 numbers will have to pay more to receive calls from mobile phones than they do for landlines, then this may result in some blocking calls from mobiles.

Where this is so, the mobile providers could perhaps allow a free to caller message giving out an alternative geographic or 03 number that a SP can be called on. It's not ideal, but if some numbers are to be barred (by the SPs themselves), then it might be an option they'd like to explore.
but I thought the mobile providers said it was too costly to introduce free to caller messages so I cant see them doing this.  Plus, mobile providers (OCPs) don't have a list of any underlying numbers that 080x are translated to so they would have to rely on the SPs themselves to provide an alternative number.

If SPs do decide to block calls from 080x numbers then the end company being called is more inclined to provide a geographical/alternative number on their own website I'd have thought (well hope lol).


I have read with interest the result from Ofcom in regard to the use of 08 numbers and I am now totally confused.
When I took part in the survey earlier this year I was under the impression that we were addressing the use of 0800/0808 numbers to mobiles and their cost implications. I thought the main reason for the survey was to enable callers to be charged the same when using an 0800/0808 number for both mobile calls and landline calls.
This is very confusing for me because it appears that this is not the case, I would appreciate it if members could clarify this matter as I do not fully understand what has happened.
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic Nos
Reply #116 - Dec 9th, 2011 at 3:09pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 8th, 2011 at 7:52pm:
Members may be interested to read the following from the Ofcom Draft Annual Plan 2012/13 on pages numbered 28 and 29 (31/32 of the pdf).

Quote:
Implement new regulatory framework for non-geographic calls

5.11 Non-geographic calls are those made to 03, 05, 070/076, 080, 0845, 0870, 083/4, 0871, 09, 116 and 188 numbers.



If that was a verbatim quote, there are errors.

083/4 - I assume this is meant to say 0843 and 0844?

0871 - what about 0872?

188 - Is this meant to be 118?

Minor detail perhaps, but it is not particularly engouraging to see that the Ofcom minions can't even type a simple list of eleven number ranges without making three errors.
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« Last Edit: Dec 9th, 2011 at 3:09pm by catj »  
 
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic Nos
Reply #117 - Dec 9th, 2011 at 4:18pm
 
catj wrote on Dec 9th, 2011 at 3:09pm:
If that was a verbatim quote, there are errors.

Indeed so. We can have a lot of fun with this.

I quote the opening phrase of the Foreword to the Consultation last year.

Quote:
Non-geographic calls are those made to 03, 05, 070/076, 080, 0845, 0870, 083/4, 0871, 09, 116 and 118 numbers. People use these numbers to call businesses and Government agencies, to get information, make payments for services and vote on TV shows.

It looks as though "188" was a typo in copying the previous document, which itself contained a typo in omitting a "4" from "0843/4". 0871 is intended to include 0872 and 0873, although "0871/2/3" would have been clearer.

Is there not a rule which says that proof-checkers will only spot errors that are insignificant!

These errors do look bad for Ofcom, however luckily they do not seriously distort what is being said, for those who understand or look further. I hope that nobody seriously believes that 0843/4, 0872/3 or 118 are not to be covered, as they were fully addressed by the earlier consultation.

If I find good reason to make a substantive response to the consultation, I will point out these typos. Others are free to do the same.
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic Nos
Reply #118 - Dec 17th, 2011 at 5:35pm
 
There has been a further development, indicating that a further statement and consultation by Ofcom is imminent. It also provides a valuable clue as to what the consultation is going to include.

PhonePay Plus has issued a Call for inputs around the extension of PhonepayPlus regulation to remaining revenue-sharing ranges.

N.B. Readers of this document should note that references to 087x exclude 0870, and that the term 08xx often means only 084x[/b] - there is no intention to include 080x within the definition of PRS!

This covers one of the possible ways that Ofcom could use to achieve enforcement of the requirement for Service Providers to state the level of "Service Charge" involved in a call to their 084 number, as part of the unbundled approach. This will be addressed by Ofcom in the second of its forthcoming consultations, as I highlighted above -

SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 8th, 2011 at 7:52pm:
Quote:
... 5.11 ... We will be publishing a detailed proposal for regulation in early 2012 and will take forward this work into the next financial year, subject to consultation.

5.12 Alongside a new approach to the regulation of non-geographic calls, we also intend to consult during 2012/13 on a specific set of regulatory rules for non-geographic calls. We will work with industry to implement these rules as quickly as reasonably possible, so that consumers can benefit from a simpler, clearer regime.

The first of these will address the (potential) implementation of the unbundled approach by direct regulation on telecoms providers, using clear powers available to Ofcom. The second will cover users of non-geographic numbers, especially those using 084 numbers, who are not currently within the scope of Ofcom regulation.


Members may have different views on whether it is appropriate for Ofcom to classify 084 numbers as being used for "Premium Rate Services". It is only by their inclusion within the definition of providers of "Premium Rate Services" that Ofcom itself, through its agent PhonePay Plus, may regulate users of telecoms services.

(Moderators may think it appropriate for discussion of this specific issue to be the subject of a separate thread. This may depend on how many members wish to contribute their views on this particular topic.)


Given that alternative, more effective ways of achieving the desired result may be used, I do not advocate this approach for 084, or indeed 087, users.

The proper nature of PP+ is as the self-regulator of those who earn revenue from expensive telephone numbers, rather than those who simply use them to offset the costs incurred in providing services. In the "call for inputs", PP+ acknowledges this important difference, and the fact that 084 and 087 users fall into the second of these categories. It claims however that the experience of having had its remit (improperly) extended to cover 087x numbers has been more successful than expected.

I take issue with the basis on which this determination is made and do not believe that there is any reason why equal "success" would be experienced if it were extended to apply to 084x numbers. PP+ is quite entitled to view the provision of paid-for services by telephone as a market and to look on that "market" in isolation from other markets. In the case of 087 and 084 numbers however, callers are not paying-for but simply subsidising the cost of providing the service as part of a much wider relationship with the person called. PP+, quite rightly has no interest in this full relationship and the impact of a charge for telephone access as part of it.

PP+ also indicates a possible degree of reluctance to get involved with 0845 numbers, even though the latest  published Ofcom proposals cover these as well as 0844/3. The tiny nature of the revenue share, along with the relatively vast number of users / uses would make the current funding structure of PP+ inappropriate. The probability of mass migration from the 0845 range once unbundled charging and proper Service Charge declaration would make it very difficult for PP+ to plan in the way that is necessary for its charge determination to be made. This would upset all of the operations of PP+.

I hope that other respondents to the "call for inputs" will join me in highlighting these points as reasons why PhonePay Plus should not be involved in the regulation of users of 084 and 087 numbers.

On purely pragmatic grounds however, I acknowledge that compliance with cost declaration requirements for 087x numbers is not so poor as some may have expected, and I am not sure that a strong case could be made for removing 087x from the scope of PRS.

I would be delighted to hear the arguments that may be set against my views, as I am very ready to change my position.


There are further clues about Ofcom's intentions which are found in the PP+ document. I cover them below.
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Re: Ofcom consultation: Simplifying Non-Geographic Nos
Reply #119 - Dec 17th, 2011 at 5:36pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 17th, 2011 at 5:35pm:
...
PhonePay Plus has issued a Call for inputs around the extension of PhonepayPlus regulation to remaining revenue-sharing ranges.

N.B. Readers of this document should note that references to 087x exclude 0870, and that the term 08xx often means only 084x[/b] - there is no intention to include 080x within the definition of PRS!
...
There are further clues about Ofcom's intentions which are found in the PP+ document. I cover them below.


It is hinted that if 0844/3 is made subject to "unbundling", 0845 may not.

Ofcom has made it very clear that retaining the status quo is not an option. The other option for 0845 is to treat it in the same way as 03, by removing the possibility of revenue share and requiring call costs not to exceed those of geographic rate calls.

Ofcom had previously indicated that the demand for the benefits of revenue sharing on 0845 and the confusion that may arise from having multiple ranges treated identically (03 / 0845 / 0870) caused it not to prefer this approach. I have however always questioned whether that demand would be sustained under the terms of the cost declaration requirements of the unbundled approach.

The clarity achieved by having distinct ranges for distinct purposes is obviously highly desirable. Avoiding the confusion that would result from mass migrations away from 0845 and the difficulties of enforcing call cost declarations may however outweigh the benefits of having only one non-geographic range that is guaranteed to be charged at no more than geographic rate.

My approach to 0845 has continued to be based on Ofcom's declared preferred approach. If Ofcom has perhaps found that the demand for declared Service Charges on 0845 numbers is perhaps not so great as it had thought, then I am very ready to accommodate this change of view.



The PP+ document suggests that 0870 could be a candidate for "unbundling".

This would be rather odd, now that revenue sharing has been prohibited. The Service Charge would be zero under the present arrangements. Ofcom's preferred approach, noting that usage of the range has fallen dramatically, is to withdraw it from the numbering plan.

If 0870 is to be retained, essentially as it is, then Ofcom would need to use its newly acquired powers to complete the work it was unable to complete previously. It can now impose a clear requirement that call costs may not exceed those of a geographic rate call. The current regulations suggest that this should be the case, however need not be, given that suitable exceptional advice of this variation from the norm is included in published tariffs. Compliance with this requirement may be said to be somewhere between poor and totally absent. It is those who do charge for 0870 calls in the same way as geographic calls who see the need to highlight an exception!

The PP+ document maybe hints at the possibility that 0870 could be resurrected to become part of 087x. I have to say that this must be unlikely given that present users of 0870 numbers must by now have got used to the idea of operating without revenue share. Those who have gone through the cost and confusion of migration to another range would be furious to learn that they could have stayed where they were. There is no shortage of potentially available numbers for "higher business rate" as 0871/3 could readily be extended to 0871/9.

The miserable 0870 should now be finally put out of its misery, with a clear and absolute statement - NO 0870.
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