This site contains information about the
North American Numbering Plan,
the telephone numbering scheme that serves the United States, Canada,
and several other countries and territories in the region.
The NANP divides the participating countries into area codes, each of which
is a three-digit number. Within each area code, a telephone number is always
7 digits, except for special codes like the 911 emergency number.
In the late 1990s, the NANP added new area codes at a rate unprecedented in
its 50-year history, with demand fueled primarily by the outdated system of
allocating blocks of numbers to telephone companies.
More efficient allocation methods, coupled with consolidation in the
telecommunications industry, have slowed the flood of new area codes to
barely a trickle, from 45 in 1997 to only 3 in 2007.
Notably, the introduction of new area codes has shifted decisively from
traditional area code splits to overlays. The last area code split in
the United States was in 2007, and Canada hasn’t had one since 1999!
This site contains information about the original area codes from 1947,
their evolution to the current state, and future developments, including
area code splits and area code overlays.
The site underwent a major overhaul in early 2021. Most of the
changes are “under the hood” (full HTML5 compliance and much
greater use of Unicode instead of ASCII भ escapes),
but several of the graphics have been updated, particularly with
an eye to making them more friendly to people with Color Vision
Deficiency (“color blindness”), and the logo has been refreshed.
In October 2022, the site made another significant change: most
pages now support “dark mode”: light-colored
text against a dark background. There are still some graphics
that need to be converted, and a few other tweaks here and there,
but most of the changes are complete; a few laggards will be
brought into the 21st century in the coming weeks.
The Unicode came in particularly handy for the
pages, which now contain text in over 200 languages in three dozen
character sets. I’m phasing in SVG graphics to replace many of the
older PNG/GIF graphics, providing dramatically better quality at
arbitrary scales. I continue to closely monitor US and Canadian
regulators’ websites for any updates, and keep my ear to the ground
for any credible rumors from other sources. I also receive regular
updates from the ITU on international numbering. I hope you find
the information here useful for all your telephony needs.
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