|Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
|News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FCC CHAIRMAN WILLIAM E. KENNARD LAUNCHES
Federal Communications Commission Chairman William E. Kennard today launched a
telephone area code consumer information campaign. "People have a lot of questions about
their area codes. This information campaign will answer consumer questions and minimize
confusion as well as explain how the FCC plans to significantly reduce the frequency of area
code changes," Kennard said.|
The Area Code Consumer Information Campaign includes a number of outreach efforts that will make area code and telephone numbering information available to consumers. The key parts of the campaign are:
For most of this century, Americans were accustomed to homes and businesses with just one main telephone line. Over the past two decades, however, the use of wireless telephones, fax lines and internet access lines - each with their own number - has exploded and the pool of available numbers is quickly becoming exhausted. Even small businesses often have dozens of phone lines and homes with two or more lines are common. But increasing demand for numbers by consumers and businesses is not the main reason for the recent increase in area code changes. The main reason is that the telephone numbering system was designed for use in a monopoly environment. New telephone companies need numbers to provide service. The good news is that many new telephone companies are seeking telephone numbers to compete.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act ushered in the age of local telephone competition. Competitors to the Baby Bells, as well as paging companies and wireless telephone companies all need telephone numbers before they can do business. Sometimes those inventories are large - and have resulted in the need for new area codes. Because of technical requirements, large inventories of numbers are given out, instead of a smaller amount. The FCC is considering ways to tap into these large inventories of unused numbers, and ways to give out numbers in smaller quantities.
"The explosion in the use of telephone lines for new services presents a challenge for the industry and for regulators. I am certain, however, that together we will find the most efficient way to improve area code use and meet this challenge. Americans have long enjoyed the most reliable and highest quality phone network in the world and the FCC is committed to preserving those qualities," Kennard said.
For more information on area code issues, contact the FCC Call Center toll free at 1-888-CALL-FCC, or visit the FCC's internet web site at http://www.fcc.gov.