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Ofcom says the UK is running out of phone numbers

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Fri Jul 19 2013, 11:15

UK TELECOMS WATCHDOG Ofcom has said that the UK is running out of phone numbers.

Well, kind of. On Friday, the communications regulator proposed to change the way people dial local telephone numbers in five areas of the UK "in order to free up new numbers where supplies are running low."

If the proposed change gets the thumbs up, it will mean that people living in Aberdeen, Bradford, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes will be required to punch in the area code before dialling a phone number. So, for example, if someone in Brighton is calling another phone number in Brighton, they will first have to first tap in '01273'.

Ofcom said, "The number of communications providers has increased significantly over the last ten years, leading to more competition and cheaper landline bills for millions of homes and businesses. But it has also led to increased pressure on the supply of new phone numbers.

"Requiring landline callers to use the code locally is intended to safeguard the future supply of new landline numbers and avoid the need for more disruptive measures, such as changing existing phone numbers."

Ofcom has already implemented the scheme in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, and said that the process so far is working smoothly. We can't see why it wouldn't be, barring technical faults.

If Ofcom's proposed measure gets the green light it's expected to be implemented on 1 October 2014, and we'll find out the decision on 13 September. µ


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