Telecom Decision CRTC 2011-436

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Ottawa, 22 July 2011

Area code relief for area codes 416 and 647 in Toronto, Ontario

File number: 8698-C12-201011478

In this decision the Commission determines that area code relief for area codes 416 and 647 is to be provided by a distributed overlay of new area code 437, effective 25 March 2013, and that, for planning purposes, area code 387 is to be set aside for future relief. The Commission also approves the jeopardy contingency plan and the relief implementation plan submitted for Commission approval by the 416/647 relief planning committee.

Introduction

1.         On 25 March 2010, the Canadian Numbering Administrator informed the Commission that the results of a general numbering resource utilization forecast indicated that area codes 416 and 647 in Toronto, Ontario, would exhaust by July 2015.

2.         The Commission subsequently issued Establishment of a CISC ad hoc committee for area code relief planning for area codes 416 and 647 in southern Ontario, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-490, 20 July 2010 (Telecom Notice of Consultation 2010-490), in which it established a relief planning committee (RPC) to examine options for providing relief for area codes 416 and 647 in Toronto, Ontario.

3.         The most recent numbering resource utilization forecast indicates that area codes 416 and 647 will now exhaust by May 2014.

4.         The RPC filed a planning document and a relief implementation plan with the Commission, dated 16 and 30 May 2011, respectively.

The RPC’s submission

5.         In the planning document, the RPC analyzed two relief options for area codes 416 and 647: i) an area code 365 boundary extension overlay, and ii) a distributed overlay of a new area code. The planning document also includes a jeopardy contingency plan, which would be needed if a jeopardy condition[1] was declared.

6.         Based on its analysis, the RPC recommended that

a)      area code relief be provided by a distributed overlay of area codes 416 and 647, with an effective date of 25 March 2013 to coincide with the relief date for adjacent area codes 289 and 905;

b)      the proposed relief implementation plan be approved; and

c)      area code 437 be used for relief in Toronto, Ontario, and area code 387 be reserved for subsequent relief.

7.         The Commission considers that the RPC’s planning document and relief implementation plan raise the following issues:

I.            What relief method should be used and when should it be implemented?

II.            Which area code(s) should be used for relief?

III.            Should the Commission approve the jeopardy contingency plan?

IV.            Should the Commission approve the relief implementation plan?

I.       What relief method should be used and when should it be implemented?

8.         The Commission notes that overlay area codes have previously been introduced in Toronto, which means that 10-digit local dialing is already in place. The Commission considers that the introduction of another overlay area code would present minimal issues with very minimal disruption to subscribers.

9.         The Commission considers that the implementation of a relief date for area codes 416 and 647 coincident with the relief date for area codes 289 and 905 would result in significant cost and time savings for carriers, facilitate consumer awareness activities, and reduce confusion for customers since the areas served by these area codes are adjacent.

10.     Accordingly, the Commission determines that the area served by area codes 416 and 647 is to be overlaid with a new area code, effective 25 March 2013.

II.     Which area code(s) should be used for relief?

11.     The Commission considers that it is a good assignment practice to use an area code that has not been used as a central office (CO) code within the area to be served, or in areas adjacent to it, because this reduces the potential for customer confusion when dialing. Since area codes 437 and 387 both meet this criterion, the Commission determines that area code 437 is to be used for current area code relief and that area code 387, for planning purposes, is to be set aside as the most suitable area code for future area code relief in Toronto, Ontario.

III.     Should the Commission approve the jeopardy contingency plan?

12.     The Commission notes that the RPC included a jeopardy contingency plan in the planning document.

13.     The Commission also notes that in Telecom Notice of Consultation 2010-490, it directed that a minimum of 7 CO codes be set aside for initial code assignments for carriers already providing service in the area served by area codes 416 and 647, and that a minimum of 10 CO codes be set aside for initial code assignments exclusively for new entrants.[2]

14.     The Commission further notes that in the RPC’s jeopardy contingency plan, the RPC recommended that if a jeopardy condition is declared in the area served by area codes 416 and 647, the 7 CO codes set aside for initial code assignments to existing carriers should be made available for initial code assignments prior to relief. The RPC also recommended that any CO codes remaining in this previously set-aside pool when the jeopardy condition ends are to be returned to the pool for initial CO code assignments for applicants in general.

15.     The Commission also notes that the RPC recommended in its jeopardy contingency plan that the 10 CO codes set aside for initial code assignments to new entrants should be made available for initial code assignments prior to relief and that any CO codes remaining in this previously set-aside pool when the jeopardy condition ends are to remain in a pool for initial CO code assignments for new entrants.

16.     Regarding the pool of 7 CO codes set aside for initial code assignments to existing carriers, the Commission determines that these 7 CO codes are to be made available for general assignment as of the date of this decision. Regarding the pool of 10 CO codes set aside for initial code assignments to new entrants, the Commission agrees with the RPC’s recommendation outlined in paragraph 15 above and determines that the CO codes in this pool are to be made available for assignment as proposed.

17.     The Commission has reviewed the jeopardy contingency plan and considers it to be appropriate. Accordingly, the Commission approves the proposed jeopardy contingency plan subject to the modification outlined in paragraph 16 above.

IV.   Should the Commission approve the relief implementation plan?

18.     The Commission notes that the relief implementation plan includes a detailed implementation activity schedule, a network implementation plan, and a consumer awareness plan. The Commission further notes that the recommendations and milestones included in the relief implementation plan are in accordance with the planning document and the Commission’s determinations in this decision.

19.     Accordingly, the Commission approves the relief implementation plan.

Secretary General



Footnotes:

[1]   According to the Canadian NPA [Numbering Plan Area] Relief Planning Guidelines, a jeopardy condition is declared when the forecast and/or actual demand for CO codes exceeds the available supply of CO codes before relief is implemented, or the implementation time frame is shorter than 36 months and no relief plan is yet in place.

[2]   In the absence of a jeopardy condition, the CO codes in these two pools would only be assigned after area code relief has been implemented.