Two One Two Much

11:00 AM -- I have folks in my address book with as many as seven phone numbers. Besides the obvious question this raises ("What's wrong with these people?"), I wonder how soon we'll run out of phone numbers in certain area codes. And will desirable numbers in New York area codes soon be bought and sold by consumers, like domain names? The FCC says that New York’s area code 212 is the most used so far, with 73.8 percent of its numbers assigned. Washington D.C.’s 202 is next in line, with 66.7 percent of its numbers assigned. But the unprecedented rate at which new area codes are being added is remarkable. There were only 86 area codes in 1947, when the 10-digit phone number scheme first began. And only 61 new area codes were added during the next 50 years. Since the 1990s, the U.S. has added 108 new area codes, according to FCC data. That data certainly casts a positive light on number portability, which is keeping us from exhausting some numbers. Wireless customers moved more than 10 million telephone numbers to new carriers since wireless number portability began on November 24, 2003, according to the FCC. During the same time, wireline customers moved more than 5 million telephone numbers to new carriers.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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