More on Toll-Free Codes
- I didn't give all of the detailed specifics on the 800-NNX codes as used
in the 1960s/70s era, when there was indeed a geography to them, but if
anyone is interested in which states/NPAs were mapped to by which
800-NNX codes, I could send a file (or post something).
But I do have some questions on the 1970s era, on some "added" 800-NNX
In the first several years of Toll-Free Inward WATS in the US (and
Canada), the 800-NNX code assignment format (with a few misc.
exceptions) was mostly "untouched".
But in Spring 1972, Nixon and Company ordered that there be a "Drug
Abuse Hotline", 800-368-5363. There had never been any 800-368 numbers
prior to this. I don't know if the choice of 368-5363 spelled out
anything or what.... DC/202 had inbound toll-free calls from outside the
district of the form 800-424-xxxx. So why couldn't this "drug abuse tip"
line be an 800-424- number? It did answer in northern VA from what I
understand, but routed via DC (not Arlington), so it wouldn't have been
800-336-xxxx (which was the 800-NNX code for toll-free numbers
terminating in VA/703 back then).
Anyhow, 800-368 was "new" for 202/DC termination as of Spring 1972.
Then in Fall 1972, NV/702's 800-648-xxxx numbers, which could be located
"anywhere" in the state, was modified... Around this time, Reno AND Las
Vegas got their own 4A machines. And the Centel-Vegas-homed 800-648-xxxx
numbers were CHANGED to new 800-634-xxxx numbers, with all 800-648-xxxx
numbers ELSEWHERE thoughout Nevada (in Nevada Bell and other
independents) which "homed" on Reno, retained their 800-648- numbers.
This was "like" an area code "split", but this applied ONLY to the
Centel-Vegas-area 800- numbers and NOT to any "POTS" numbers anywhere in
In June 1973, Virginia's 703 NPA was split, with 804 for the
southeastern part of the state. This affected existing 703-NXX-xxxx POTS
numbers in southeastern VA being changed to 804-NXX-xxxx, and it also
affected 800-336-xxxx numbers that terminated in southeast VA now 804
instead of 703. Those customers with 800-336- numbers were CHANGED to
800-446- numbers, the 800-446- code being "new" for this NPA split.
There were also some new areas of the US which never had inbound
terminating 800 service previously, which were ADDED to the "800 world"
in the late 1970s, and were assigned their own NEW 800-NNX c.o.codes:
August 1977, 800-367 NEW for 808/Hawaii
April 1978, 800-468 NEW for 809/PR-part-ONLY
August 1978, 800-544 NEW for 907/Alaska
Sept. 1979, 800-524 NEW for 809/US VI part ONLY
June 1980, 800-855 NEW for "TDD/TTY" Hearing Impaired Svs.Operator
Also, some heavily populated parts of the US in the late 1970s needed to
have a SECOND 800-NNX code for calls terminating in that area code
region... (in 1966/67, the three largest metro areas/NPAs in the US did
originally have two 800-NNX codes already assigned though: 212/NY with
800-221 and 800-223, 213/CA Los Angeles/etc. with 800-421 and 800-423,
and 312/IL Chicago/etc. with 800-621 for the "City" (what would retain
NPA 312 in 1989) and 800-323 for the "suburbs" (what would split to NPA
708 in 1989)...
Here are my questions interspersed -- maybe someone could help fill in
"SOMETIME between Feb.1975 and Sept.1975" (BUT WHICH MONTH????)...
404/GA (northern GA incl.Atlanta) already with 800-241, needed a SECOND
800-NNX c.o.code for toll-free calls terminating there, and was assigned
800-554. This was an "overlay" for new toll-free inwats customers. It
was NOT like a "split" where half of the existing customers were
changed. EXACTLY WHEN between Feb and Sept 1975, was 800-554 activated
as the additional 800-NNX c.o.code for 404/northern-GA ??????
"SOMETIME between Oct.1975 and Aug.1976" (BUT EXACTLY WHEN ??????)
201/northern-NJ already with 800-631 was "overlaid" with new 800-526
"SOMETIME between Oct.1975 and June 1977" (BUT EXACTLY WHEN ??????)
416/ON (Toronto/vicinity) already with 800-261 and 800-263, was
"overlaid" with new 800-268 -- but WHEN "exactly" ????
617/eastern-MA (including Boston), already with 800-225, was "overlaid"
with the new 800-343 code, this one I know took effect in Feb.1978!
And then "SOMETIME AFTER Feb.1978" (BUT EXACTLY WHEN ????),
215/southeast-PA (including Phyly)\, already with 800-523, was
"overlaid" with the new 800-345 code. BUT EXACTLY WHEN ???
Sometime in the early 1980s, Toronto ON /416 (with 800-261, 800-263,
and 800-268... the 800-261-xxxx customers were all SYSTEMATICALLY
CHANGED to 800-387-xxxx numbers....
BUT WHY was 800-261 CHANGED to 800-387??? and EXACTLY WHEN ???
(and then in March 1987, BC/604 already with 800-663- customers, was
overlaid with new 800-668- numbers).
NONE of the above assignments means ANYTHING anymore -- except in an
historical sense... the legacy assignments to long established customers
might still be in use in the original regions, but that's because those
customers NEVER had requested any number changes... but new customers
aren't bound to any of the old geographic assignments. The network
routing and assignment policies are all now "arbitrary", on a first-come
first serve basis. This first began to take effect in Spring 1982 when
AT&T installed their own internal geographic toll-free number
portability database, and other portability databases began to be
introduced later for other purposes.... (see what I said in my previous
BUT... I'm hoping that SOMEONE out there might have some info to help me
fill-in the gaps, i.e. dedicated dates for the bulk of those I don't
have more precise dates, of the ACTIVATION of the "additional" post-1970
new 800-NNX c.o.code geographic assignments!
Mark J. Cuccia
mcuccia (at) tulane (dot) edu
New Orleans LA CSA