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PUCO Suspends Implementation of Mandatory 10-Digit Dialing in 513/283 and 614/380 Area Codes.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today indefinitely suspended the implementation of mandatory 10-digit local dialing in the 513/283 and 614/380 area codes. Permissive 10-digit local dialing will continue until the Commission determines that mandatory 10-digit dialing must be implemented.

In September 2000, the PUCO announced it had approved a plan that would "overlay" a new area code (283) into the existing 513 area code, which would require 10-digit local dialing in the area beginning June 29, 2002. A similar plan was adopted by the Commission to address the projected area code exhaust in the 614 area code on May 17, 2001. Mandatory 10-digit local dialing was to begin in the 614 area code on September 21, 2002, and the new 380 area code was to be implemented a month later.

Since the establishment of the dates for the implementation of mandatory 10-digit dialing in the 513/283 and 614/380 area codes, there has been a decrease in assignment of NXX codes. NXX codes are the first three digits of a local seven-digit telephone number. These codes are traditionally assigned in blocks of 10,000 telephone numbers.

The decrease in the assignment of numbers is partially attributed to the recent economic downturn and the return of NXX codes as a result of the abandonment of service by competitive local telephone companies. The increased use of technologies such as DSL and cable modems, which do not require the assignment of telephone numbers, has also contributed to the decrease in the assignment of numbers.

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established a rollout schedule for national thousands-block number pooling. The pooling will assist in extending the longevity of area codes by allocating to a telecommunications carrier blocks of one thousand numbers in an NXX code rather than assigning an entire NXX code with ten thousand numbers at one time to only one carrier.

The PUCO also announced plans to consider the feasibility of implementing service-specific or technology-specific overlays in the state of Ohio. The FCC recently issued an order recognizing the state commissions' ability to petition the FCC for the authority to implement technology- and/or service- specific overlays as a means of providing area code exhaust relief. The potential to utilize one of these overlays could possibly delay the need for an all-services overlay in the "513" and "614" area codes.

"The Commission has spent years advocating that the FCC give state commissions the authority to implement technology- or service-specific overlays to help with area code exhausts," PUCO Chairman Alan R. Schriber stated. "We are encouraged by the FCC's recent order and will explore these new alternatives as we look to address Ohio's pending area code exhausts in light of the technological advancements in Ohio's telecommunications industry."

Subscribers must continue to ensure that upgrades and changes are made to their telecommunications systems or equipment, including alarm systems, to allow for permissive local dialing. This will also ensure preparedness when the Commission determines that it is necessary to implement mandatory ten- digit local dialing. The Commission will provide subscribers with a minimum notice of six months prior to the future implementation of 10-digit dialing.

For more information about area codes or any other utility issue, please visit the PUCO web site at .


Contact: Shana Gerber, Media Chief, Office of Public Affairs of The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, +1-614-466-7750

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 14, 2002
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