It started with a big idea. Just not in a garage.
Fueled by start-up energy nonetheless. Neustar was literally born to manage large datasets. In 1997, while still a part of Lockheed Martin, we won the contract to administer the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). That’s numbers as in phone numbers, which people could finally port. It created a massive database in need of a neutral steward to give telephone companies equal access to everybody’s digits. To ensure that neutrality, in 1999 we were divested by Lockheed Martin and renamed Neustar.
Years later, number portability in the United States remains the global standard for convenience and efficiency. As the first to deliver cloud-based information services and analytics to inform high-volume, high-value decisions in real time – one interaction at a time – we’ve diversified our information services quite a bit, adding to the critical datasets we manage. Every day, Neustar enables billions of DNS queries and millions of text messages and phone calls. Besides serving thousands of customers worldwide, we touch the lives of people everywhere. When someone calls her mother, orders a pair of shoes online (because the retailer who placed the banner ad she saw had an inkling that she’d like them) or gets a text saying T-ball practice is ending early, there’s a very good chance Neustar helped to make it happen.
Neustar – then the Communications Industry Services (CIS) operating unit within Lockheed Martin – won its original contract to provide local number portability services to select regions throughout North America. Since that time, Neustar has assumed LNP responsibilities for all geographic regions throughout the United States and Canada as the operator of the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC). Neustar subsequently launched wireless number portability to much of the North American market in 2003.
Neustar won the contract to become the official North American Numbering Plan (NANP) administrator, a position we have held ever since. The NANP is a system of three-digit area codes and seven-digit telephone numbers that directs telephone calls to particular regions on a public switched telephone network.
Neustar successfully trialed number pooling at the state-wide level. Number pooling is a method of reallocating telephone numbers under the NANP, and it has created much more flexibility in the creation, usage and longevity of area codes and telephone numbers across North America. Neustar went on to win the contract for Number Pooling Administration in 2001, and our agreement was renewed in 2007.
CIS was divested from Lockheed Martin and became Neustar after Lockheed Martin acquired COMSAT, a global telecommunications company. Because the acquisition created neutrality concerns for CIS’s number administration and NANP functions, Lockheed Martin chose to spin off the operating unit.
NeuLevel – a since-dissolved joint venture between Neustar and Australia-based Melbourne IT – was awarded the contract to administer the name registry for the .BIZ Internet domain. Neustar is now the sole registry operator for .BIZ. This was the first registry services contract win of its kind; Neustar subsequently won contracts to serve as the registry operator for the .US domain (2001; renewal in 2007); as the “registry gateway” operator for China’s .CN and Taiwan’s .TW domains (2002); and as the registry operator for the .TEL domain (2007).
The .US top-level domain (usTLD) was established in 1985 as the official country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United States. It is administered by Neustar. The expanded second-level .US domain launched on April 24, 2002, enabling companies, nonprofits, government entities and individuals to establish unique, memorable American addresses online.
Neustar made the first of several strategic acquisitions, buying out NightFire Software and creating Neustar’s Order Management Services (OMS) clearinghouse. After subsequent acquisitions, Foretec Seminars became Neustar Secretariat Services (2005); UltraDNS became a Neustar service (2006); Followap, Inc. became Neustar Next Generation Messaging (2006); and Webmetrics became a Neustar service (2008).
Also in 2003, Neustar (under contract with CTIA – The Wireless Association) announced the availability of five-digit Common Short Codes (CSCs), numeric codes to which text messages can be sent from a wireless mobile phone or phone-enabled device. CSCs are now in wide usage for such applications as television contest voting, coupon redemption, gaming, sweepstakes, and more. Six-digit CSCs made their debut in 2006.
Neustar announced the first major number portability initiative outside the United States as number portability was launched in Taiwan.
Neustar became a public company on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the ticker symbol “NSR” – and we won “IPO of the Year” honors from both Renaissance Capital LLC and Thomson Financial's International Financing Review.
Neustar acquired UltraDNS, a global industry leader in providing managed domain name systems (DNS) and directory services based in Reston, VA. Today, Neustar UltraDNS Services plays a key role in directing and managing Internet traffic, enabling thousands of customers to intelligently and securely control and distribute that traffic.
Also in 2006, Neustar completed the acquisition of Followap, Inc., a UK-based enabler of mobile instant messaging services. In 2010, the service became known as “Converged Messaging” and was later divested in 2011.
Neustar – in conjunction with Cleartech – was selected by the Brazilian Association of Telecommunications Resources to provide number portability services in Brazil. Today, this implementation ranks as the second largest of its kind in the world (after the United States of America), and as Neustar’s second major international number portability initiative (after Taiwan in 2004).
Neustar acquired Webmetrics, a leading provider of web and network performance testing, monitoring and measurement services. Today, Webmetrics is a Neustar service that provides collaborative performance management services for complex web ecosystems.
Also in 2008, NeuStar announced a collaboration with the GSM Association (GSMA) – the global trade association for mobile operators – for what is now known as the PathFinder number resolution system. PathFinder simplifies the transmission of instant messages, MMS, emails, video and other Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications between mobile phones and between mobile and fixed-line phones. Today, Neustar operates the PathFinder service on behalf of the GSMA.
In addition, 2008 saw Neustar participate in Cyber Storm II, the largest multinational online security exercise ever, which was organized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The goal of Cyber Storm II was to examine security preparedness and response capabilities across a variety of infrastructure functions including information technology, communications, and transportation systems and assets.
Neustar announced the amendment of its original telephone number portability contracts. The amended contract not only provided Neustar with predictable revenues for the next several years, but also promised to spur innovation by encouraging the industry to use additional fields and functions in the NPAC to facilitate tomorrow’s IP-based routing services.
Also in 2009, Neustar’s unmistakable future focus and impressive history caused the company to be ranked #17 on Forbes Magazine’s annual “25 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies” list.
Neustar announced Lisa Hook’s appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer. The acquisitions of BrowserMob, LLC, a leading provider of load testing and monitoring services, and Quova, Inc., a global leader in IP geolocation services, allowed the company to expand services to help online businesses optimize their web presence and also detect and prevent fraud, ensure regulatory compliance, manage digital content rights distribution and localize ads and web content.
Neustar acquired the assets and certain liabilities of the Numbering Solutions business of Evolving Systems, Inc., which furthered the company’s long-term initiative to simplify operators’ OSS architectures. Neustar also completed the acquisition of TARGUSinfo, a leading provider of real-time, on-demand information services, including Caller ID. Additionally, President Barack Obama appointed Lisa Hook, Neustar’s President & CEO, to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC).
Neustar completed the acquisition of Aggregate Knowledge to provide complete workflow solutions for brands and agencies to manage the entire marketing lifecycle.