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News Release
Commission Opens Investigation Into Conserving
Oregon's Telephone Numbering Resources

November 17, 1999 (1999-049)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Sterling Sawyer, Utility Analyst, 503 378-6621; Ron Karten, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR - The Oregon Public Utility Commission has opened an investigation into ways to conserve telephone number resources to postpone the need for future changes in the 541 area code in Southern and Eastern Oregon and the 503 area code along the Northwest Oregon coast.
The investigation, expected to take over a year to complete, will not affect the October 1, 2000, implementation of the 971 area code overlay of most of the current 503 area code territory which includes the Portland metropolitan area and Salem.
The investigation was sought by the Oregon Exchange Carrier Association (OECA) of local incumbent telephone companies to focus on consolidation of rate centers. Rate centers define points for long distance calls and consolidating them would conserve numbers by enlarging the area served by new prefixes. The existing prefixes remain unchanged.
The Commission also ordered the staff to look into other methods of conserving numbers, including number pooling and reclamation of assigned but unused prefixes. Number pooling assigns numbers in smaller blocks than the current practice of allocating full prefixes with 10,000 numbers. Many telecommunications providers which have been assigned large blocks of numbers have unused numbers and reclaiming them would enable more efficient use of the prefixes.
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