Evolution of the Area Code


The recent announcement that Connecticut will be introducing the new 959 area code this summer has gotten me thinking about area codes.

I work with area code issues virtually day as a integral aspect of DID Management.  The SkySwitch DID platform, allows resellers to order, provision and manage DIDs based on  NPA-NXX (that is shorthand for the codes set forth in the North American Numbering Plan, also known as NANP). However, I never really gave much thought to the societal repercussions associated with the many changes that are affecting our phone numbers.

If you have ever wondered about the history of the area code, the February 2014 edition of The Atlantic contains a good read entitled Our Numbered Days: The Evolution of the Area Code.

The article discusses the cultural and social aspects of area codes and gives a history of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), including a description of the Neustar team that currently mans the helm:

So who has control over the numbering system today? That honor belongs, officially, to a 12-person team working out of an office in Sterling, Virginia: the current administrators of the North American Numbering Plan. For a brief period in the 1990s, it was Lockheed Martin that oversaw that administration; after Lockheed got involved with telecom concerns, however, the FCC decided that it needed a neutral and non-governmental body to administer the nation’s numbers. Lockheed’s numbering division divested itself and became Neustar, which remains under contract with the FCC.