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Carrier Identification Codes (CICs) and

Seven-Digit Carrier Access Code (CAC) Dialing

What are CICs?

"CIC" stands for carrier identification code (CIC). A CIC is a unique numeric code that is assigned to carriers or other entities that access a local exchange carriers' (LEC) network. Since 1983, CICs have been unique three-digit codes (XXX).

What are CICs used for?

LECs use CICs to identify, bill, and route traffic to access customers. Access customers may include interexchange carriers (IXCs), wireless carriers, competitive access providers, and large corporate users.

What are CACs? Are CACs the same thing as CICs? PICs?

"CAC" stands for carrier access code (CAC). A CAC is not the same as a CIC. It is a numeric code that consists of a prefix followed by a carrier's unique CIC. Since 1983, CACs were five-digit codes incorporating carriers' three-digit CIC (10XXX).

A CAC also is not the same thing as a PIC. "PIC" stands for primary interexchange carrier. Your PIC is the carrier you selected to provide your primary long distance service. From your own telephone, you can access the services of your PIC by dialing a one plus the area code and telephone number of the person you wish to call. To access the services of any other carrier from your own telephone, you must dial that carrier's CAC, plus one, plus the area code and telephone number of the person you wish to call.

What are CACs used for?

CACs enable callers to reach any carrier from any telephone. For example, callers can reach any carrier from a payphone using the carrier's CAC or they may reach any carrier from their own telephone by using the carrier's CAC to "dial around" their primary interexchange carrier.

Why is there a need to expand CACs from five-digits to seven-digits?

The change in CACs is necessary because the industry exhausted the supply of the three-digit CICs, which are used to form CACs, in 1995. Unless CICs are expanded to four-digits companies will not be able to enter the market because they will not be able to obtain the access code that their customers need to obtain access to the carrier's services. The expanded CIC format will make approximately 10,000 CICs available for assignment.

When will this change in dialing take place? What is the new CAC format?

The change in dialing, from five-digit to seven-digit CACs, will take place on July 1, 1998. As of that date, callers must use the new seven-digit CAC format.

The new CAC format is "101-XXXX," with the last four digits (XXXX) representing the carrier's unique four-digit CIC.

How do I know what a carrier's new seven-digit CAC is?

Three-digit CICs are being expanded to four-digits by adding an initial "0." Thus, the five-digit CAC "10XXX" will now become the seven-digit CAC "1010XXX." To form the new seven-digit CAC for carriers that have a four-digit CIC, you just add a one, a zero, and a one to the carrier's four-digit CIC. Thus, the seven-digit CAC now becomes "101-XXXX."

How can I find out the CAC of a particular carrier?

A listing of all assigned CICs is available from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) at their website ( www.nanpa.com) under the title "Updated CIC Codes." The CAC is derived by adding the prefix "101" to the CIC.

Why are some carriers advertising their new seven-digit CAC as "10-10-XXX" rather than "101-XXXX"? Is there any difference between "10-10-XXX" and "101-XXXX"?

Three-digit CICs are being expanded to four digits by adding an initial zero (0) so that "XXX" becomes "0XXX.". The CAC format for carriers who currently hold a three-digit CIC is the same seven-digit format: "101-XXXX." Because the four-digit CIC of carriers that currently hold a three-digit CIC will start with a zero, some of those carriers may have chosen to advertise the seven-digit CAC as "10-10-XXX" because they believe it will be easier for their customers to remember that format.

There is no difference between "101-XXXX" and "10-10-XXX."

How do I make a dial-around call with the new seven-digit CAC?

You should make a dial-around call in the same manner as you did previously. The only change is that you will now have to dial a seven-digit CAC, rather than a five-digit CAC. Otherwise, it's the same. You simply dial: the carrier's CAC + 1 + area code + telephone number of the party you wish to reach.

What happens if I forget to dial the new seven-digit CAC? Will I still be able to reach my dial around carrier?

If you forget to dial the new seven-digit CAC after June 30, 1998, you will receive an error message, similar to messages provided if you make an error in dialing a long distance call. The message will tell you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. It also will tell you that if you dialed a five-digit code, that code has changed and that you must redial by adding a one and a zero before the five-digit code. The message will state that you may contact the carrier you are trying to use for assistance.

My call using a five-digit CAC completed after July 1, 1998, but now it won't work? Why not?

Carriers are required to send and receive only seven-digit CACs beginning on July 1, 1998 and, after that date, all callers should be using a seven-digit CAC. LECs may not be able to make the change in their equipment to process the new codes overnight, however, so the FCC allowed them a two-month period to complete the phase-out of five-digit CACs. During the phase-out-period, a very small number of calls may complete using a five-digit CAC. That number will diminish over time. By September 1, 1998, only calls made using a seven-digit CAC will complete.

What should I do if my autodialer can't accept more than 16 digits? Do I have to buy new equipment?

No, you should not have to replace your equipment. If your autodialer cannot accept more than 16 digits, you could dial manually the first two digits of the access code "10," and then use the automatic dialing feature to dial the remaining 16 digits. You should contact your carrier of choice and the manufacturer of your equipment to inquire whether there are other possible solutions to the problem of the number of digits your autodialer can accept.

How do I contact my carrier for help or to ask questions?

The customer service telephone number of the carrier you are trying to use may be located on the long distance portion of your local telephone bill or you may receive a separate bill from that carrier that provides the carrier's customer service telephone number. Carriers' advertisements also may list a customer service telephone number to call for assistance.

Why can't my carrier keep its five-digit CAC? Can't only new carriers be assigned the new seven-digit CAC?

Three-digit CICs can be used simultaneously only with a limited number of four-digit CICs, for technical reasons. If the FCC allowed carriers to keep their three-digit CICs, the industry would run out of four-digit CICs available for assignment to new entrants and further changes in numbering would have to be made, affecting both carriers and consumers, much more quickly than if three-digit CICs are phased out. Also, customers who wish to use more than one dial-around carrier might be confused by CACs of different lengths and wonder if those carriers were offering the same type of service. Finally, for technical and cost reasons, it is impractical and unfair to allow some carriers to keep their five-digit CACs.

Why are long distance carriers the only carriers that have to make the change to seven-digit CACs?

Long distance carriers are not the only carriers affected by the change. All carriers that have a CIC are affected by the change, including LECs, long distance carriers, competitive access providers, and large corporate users of telecommunications services.

Did the FCC consider any other ways of enabling competition to continue, rather than expanding the number of digits I have to dial?

Yes, industry and the FCC carefully considered all available options. The expansion in CACs is unavoidable, however, to allow competition in the telecommunications industry and to ensure that all providers of telecommunications services compete on an equal and nondiscriminatory basis.

How will the change in the number of digits help competition?

The industry ran out of three-digit CICs in March 1995. To allow for competition, the industry needed to expanded CICs to four-digits.. The expanded CIC format allows new competitors to enter the telecommunications industry, thus allowing for vigorous competition.

Will the number of digits I have to dial to reach my carrier increase again any time soon?

No. The expansion to seven-digit CACs will provide thousands of new codes available for assignment. The industry believes four-digit CICs will last for many years. Industry also has planned for expansion to five-digit CICs, should that become necessary, in a way that minimizes disruption to consumers and will not change the seven-digit CAC dialing pattern. Under the plan, if industry needs to expand CICs to five-digits, CACs will continue to be seven-digits. The new CAC format would be "10-XXXXX," with the last five digits representing the carrier's unique five-digit CIC.

Who can obtain a CIC? How can I get more information on CICs?

In general, under guidelines established by the industry for the assignment of CICs, CICs are assigned to entities who purchase access from a LEC, use the access already obtained by another carrier, or are LECs.

The assignment of CICs is administered by the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA). Entities that wish to get more information on how to obtain a CIC must contact NANPA and request assignment. NANPA can be reached at: (202) 533-2653, and through their website at: www.nanpa.com.

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last updated 7/29/98