December 4, 2001 Beth Bosch
ICC TO SEEK FCC APPROVAL FOR
NUMBER CONSERVATION IN 618 AREA CODE
The Illinois Commerce Commission agreed today to file a petition with the
Federal Communications Commission seeking approval of a number pooling plan
that would help to conserve unassigned telephone numbers in the 618 area code
and postpone the need for a new area code, possibly for several years into the
The Commission also suggested that it would consider a geographic split
of the current 618 area code, as a permanent remedy when all prefixes in the
code have been distributed. A proposed order before the Commission last
month, recommended that a new area code overlay the current area code.
Commission Chairman Richard Mathias said Tuesday information from
the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) indicates only 27
percent of the numbers in the 618 area code are being used. Number pooling, in
which telecommunications companies return unused blocks of numbers for
reallocation in smaller 1,000 block increments, is one means of conserving
numbers. Currently, when a company requests telephone numbers they are
distributed by NANPA in blocks of 10,000.
The Commission previously ordered number pooling in the Chicago area
and in the case of the 847 area code, serving customers in suburban areas north
of Chicago, the need for the new area code was delayed by more than two years.
In addition, the Commission indicated it would host public hearings in the
618 region to gather public comment on a geographic split of the area, or an
overlay in which only new customers would be assigned the new area code and
current customers would retain their numbers. A geographic split would require a
portion of the region to change phone numbers to reflect a new area code.
Public hearings will be announced at a later date.