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Current Numbering (North America)

International Information

History and Evolution

Moderately Recent Events

Other Information & Fun Stuff

Administrivia


Site overview

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the NANP added new area codes at a rate unprecedented in its 50-year history, with demand fueled primarily by the outdated system of allocating blocks of numbers to telephone companies.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. As of mid-2013, there are no area code splits pending or planned anywhere in the NANP! 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. Most of the changes are complete, but a few laggards will be brought into the 21st century in the coming weeks.

The Unicode came in particularly handy for the world.html page, which now contains 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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