Don’t lose that number

The CRTC issued 3 news releases yesterday, all dealing with the potential for exhaust of phone numbers in area codes 905 (the area encircling Toronto), 204 (Manitoba) and 819 (Western Quebec).

How can we be running out of numbers?

An area code potentially has 10,000,000 numbers, but since we don’t use a leading 1 or zero, that brings us down to 8,000,000 per area code. Canada already has 30 area codes – many areas having had geographic splits and then overlays. so Canada has 240 million numbers available for our 35 million people.

These three consultations trigger a process to add 24 million more numbers into our inventory.

We still assign numbers based on the original ILEC exchanges, a throwback to when long distance was a material cost and when there was centralized orderly planning of scarce capital intensive resources.

We now have the majority of phone numbers being consumed by mobile handsets. What does a wire centre boundary mean in the mobile world? Maybe it is time to rethink the way we assign phone numbers.

Would the end of discrete long distance charges lead to better conservation of phone numbers?

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