Ofcom has explained how it plans to safeguard the supply of landline numbers across the UK, avoiding the need to change existing phone numbers.
It says the increasing number of communications providers holding blocks of allocated numbers has led to pressure on the supply of phone numbers in some areas.
As a result, it’s going to introduce ‘local area code dialling’ in places where numbers are scarce - and it’s also proposing a pilot scheme to charge communications providers for local numbers in some areas.
Local area code dialling simply involves customers using the whole number when making local calls. For example, at the moment a customer in the 01632 area could just call the local part of their neighbour’s number - perhaps ‘960012’. Local area code dialling would require them to call the whole number: 01632 960012.
This will enable Ofcom to make more numbers available, including phone numbers in which the first digit after the area code is 0 or 1.
Bournemouth’s 01202 code is expected to be the first area required to implement these measures, which are likely to be introduced next year. Similar changes may also be required in Brighton and Hove (01273), Aberdeen (01224), Milton Keynes (01908), Bradford (01274) and Cambridge (01223) by 2016.
[Ofcom statement and consultation]