HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today revisited the issue of area code relief in Southeastern Pennsylvania by withdrawing the proposed 835 area code overlay in the 610/484 area codes.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), the organization responsible for developing area code relief plans and distributing area codes throughout the United States, assigned the 835 area code as an overlay for the 610 and 484 area codes in May 2000. The 835 area code was originally scheduled by the telecommunications industry to be activated May 2001. Recent numbering data demonstrates that the 610/484 area codes aren’t expected to run out of numbers until the second quarter of 2009, making the proposed 835 overlay no longer necessary. As of June 14, there are more than 5.3 million telephone numbers available for assignment in the 610/484 area codes.
In order to prevent the telecommunications industry from having to perform the task of undoing their prior implementation work, the Commission has directed NANPA to hold the 835 area code in “reserved” status, so if the 610/484 area codes are exhausted, 835 can be reassigned to Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The PUC continues number-conservation measures through NXX code reclamation and thousand-block number pooling. Because of the Commission’s conservation efforts, additional NXX codes and thousand-blocks from the 610/484 area codes will be reclaimed, adding further to the available numbering resources.
Conservation measures include NXX code reclamation which allows the PUC to reclaim NXX codes that have not been assigned to customers in six months. NXX codes are the first three digits of a phone number following the area code. Each one contains approximately 10,000 phone numbers.
Thousand-block pooling allows telecommunications companies to return unused numbers in blocks of 1,000. Companies wanting additional numbers would then be assigned blocks of 1,000 numbers from the pool. Before pooling began in 2001, companies received telephone numbers in blocks of 10,000 numbers, whether they had 100 customers or 9,000 customers. Once the 10,000 numbers were given to a telephone company, they could not be assigned to another company.
Until 1993, Pennsylvania had only four area codes. By 1999, five new area codes were added to the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ensures safe, reliable and reasonably priced electric, natural gas, water, telephone and transportation service for Pennsylvania consumers, by regulating public utilities and by serving as stewards of competition.
For recent news releases, or more information about the PUC, visit our Internet homepage at www.puc.state.pa.us.
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Docket No. P-00961061F0002