Back in April 2010, I had posted that the 2010-1Q NANPA Newsletter made
mention that toll-free 866 was approaching "exhaust" (estimated around
2011/12 time-frame), and that the North American telco industry would
request that the FCC approve opening up the "next" toll-free special
area code, 855, for assignment of actual numbers to actual customers.
Today, Tuesday 06-July-2010, NeuStar-NANPA issued Planning Letter #407,
regarding the opening up of toll-free special area code 855, this PL-407
can be downloaded from http://www.nanpa.com/pdf/PL_407.pdf
that on (Friday) 25-June-2010, the Wireline Competition division of the
FCC has authorized the opening up of 855 at "12pm" Eastern 01-October-2010.
I assume that this means "12 Noon" (Eastern) on Friday 01-October-2010
and not 12:01am (right after midnight) starting on that Friday...
NeuStar-NANPA does not "directly" assign ten-digit 8YY-nxx-xxxx line-numbers
to requesting customers or carriers. That is handled by a couple of
North American telephone industry consortium bodies, one of them being
DSMI (Database Services Management Inc), the other being "SMS Toll-Free".
At one time, Lockheed-Martin was involved with one of these two consortiums,
known as the "800 NASC" (Numbering Assignment Service Center). This was
several years before LM took over basic/overall/general NANPA functions
from Bellcore in the 1997/98 timeframe. I don't know if LM still has
anything to do with any "800 NASC" or "SMS Toll-Free" body anymore, but
I think that DSMI and/or "SMS Toll-Free" is still "somehow" associated
with Telcordia (formerly Bellcore).
The specific recent (1st half 2010) procedural history regarding 855
with the FCC and various industry bodies is outlined in this Planning
One thing that is not specifically mentioned, though, is that originally,
both 866 and 855 were to have been introduced for toll-free numbering
assignments "nearly" simultaneously, both in Spring 2000, a (few) weeks
to a month apart from each other, 866 first followed by 855. I don't
remember the exact planned implementation dates/interval though.
However, the FCC postponed those dates. I seem to remember that the
ultimate implementation of 866 for actual line-number assignments was
in Fall 2000 (November?), and that 855 was "postponed until further
notice". The note in PL-407 mentions that 866 was actually implemented
in July 2000 (Summer). It was ten years ago, and I don't have immediate
access to my notes from back then.
There is no mention in today's Planning Letter about testing for the
new toll-free 855 special area code... I do remember that the 250 office
code within all toll-free area codes is reserved for "testing purposes"
on the -0000 through -1499 line-number block. (I assume that 8yy-250-1500
through -9999 is available for assignment to regular customers though).
Specific four-digit line-numbers or specific "blocks" of line-numbers
within the -0000 through -1499 range are to be "duplicate assigned" to
the same service providers regardless of the actual toll-free SAC, i.e.,
it is the same assignment on 800, 888, 877, 866, now 855, and future
844, 833, 822, etc. However, with mergers, name-changes, etc. and just
the overall change in the telco industry over the past ten years, I
don't know "exactly how" the ATIS-INC/NRRIC/OBF/etc. bodies which
maintained the 8yy-250-0000 thru -1499 test-number assignments still
hold today (2010). i.e., since VeriZon/NYNEX/NET&T no longer operates
in ME/NH/VT, does FairPoint have any (new) 855-250-xxxx or range of
-xxxx's for testing, separate and distinct from the legacy 8yy-250-xxxx(s)
for VZ/NET&T? Same for Frontier in legacy BOC areas in West Virginia,
now that this is no longer part of VZ/Bell-Atlantic which has its own
legacy 855-250-xxxx(s), etc. Remember that "for the most part" the
incumbent LEC maintains (copies of) databases for translations to
determine "which" IXC (or even LEC/CLEC) to hand-off a dialed 8yy-nxx-xxxx
call over to, the actual service provider(s) that route the dialed
toll-free number being determined by the paying/called customer who
has "purchased" that toll-free 8yy number/service.
Ten years ago, 855 was originally to have been implemented almost
simultaneously with 866, even though 855 has been postponed for ten years.
The local, LATA, and interexchange carrier networks (landline and
wireless, etc), were all to have been "readied" for proper database-dipping,
translation, and routing of 866-nxx-xxxx _AND_ 855-nxx-xxxx numbers as
of Spring 2000. Thus, if nothing has changed, and all new switches
implemented in the network since then have 855 opened up as "valid"
along the same lines as 866, 877, 888, 800 are for routing/etc., then
there "should" be no problem with opening up assignment of 855-nxx-xxxx
numbers and their proper routing throughout the network regardless of
which carrier/telco/etc. a call originates on, placed to an 855-nxx-xxxx
number.... Well, considering how the telco industry is these days,
I guess "we'll see"! (I do remember numerous routing problems with the
introduction of 877 back in Spring 1998, mainly with origination from
Mark J. Cuccia
markjcuccia at yahoo dot com
Lafayette LA, formerly of New Orleans LA pre-Katrina