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News Release
 
FCC Area Code Rules Good First Step
 
March 17, 2000 (2000-015)
 
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR - The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) says the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adoption of new policies and rules to reduce the need for new area codes is a good first step, but still plans to push ahead with its petition for additional conservation measures.
 
The FCC adopted rules to allocate new phone numbers in blocks of 1,000. It replaces the previous industry standard of 10,000 and is aimed at using the quickly dwindling numbers more efficiently.
 
"This is something we had been hoping the FCC would do," said Commission Chairman Ron Eachus. "The new policy should help delay the need for a new area code in the 541 area of Southwest Oregon. It will not affect the October implementation of a new 971 area code in the 503 area because the Portland-Metropolitan area and its surroundings have already had enough growth and not enough extra numbers are available to warrant delay."
 
Even though Commissioner Joan Smith doesn’t think the FCC rules go far enough, she is nonetheless glad the FCC got something out. "One of the big problems was the fact each new company got new phone numbers in blocks of 10,000. It’s much more efficient to allocate them in blocks of 1,000."
 
Commissioner Roger Hamilton was equally pleased with the development. "We’ve seen a rapid depletion of numbers in the 541 area code so this is good news. And I’m glad the federal government is finally stepping in and giving us some relief from their side."
 
Earlier this month the Commission petitioned the FCC for additional authority to implement number conservation measures to extend the life of the 541 area code. The North American Number Planning Administrator (NANPA) has warned Oregon’s 541 area could run out of numbers as soon as mid-2002.
 
The Commission will continue to press ahead with its request.
 
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