Analyzing the utilization data provided by carriers has provided useful information regarding number availability and usage practices in the 831 area code. It also has offered insights into developing better public policies to improve efficiency of number use. Now, we know that approximately 6.5 million of the estimated 7.7 million usable numbers in the 831 area code are currently not in use. Despite the increasing demand for numbers, the 831 area code is not fully utilized. The data indicates that there is considerable room for growth within the existing 831 area code, and it is premature to consider splitting or overlaying the 831 area code at this time.
The CPUC already has directed carriers to employ measures to use the numbering resources in 831 more efficiently. Recently adopted fill rates and sequential numbering rules will ensure that carriers use their existing resources more fully, and receive additional numbers only on an as-needed basis. When pooling takes effect in the 831 area code, all LNP-capable carriers will be given numbers expeditiously and in usable blocks. Allocating numbers in thousand-block increments rather than in full prefixes of 10,000 numbers will ensure that the numbering resources are used more efficiently, and can extend the life of the existing area code. Implementing these more efficient numbering practices is an important first step, but more needs to be done.
In analyzing the carrier data, it is now clear that because of 1) past inefficiencies in numbering policies and practices, 2) the 10% contamination ceiling for block donations to pooling, and 3) the deferral of LNP capability for wireless carriers, 1.4 million numbers are not in use in 831 but cannot be reassigned to other carriers. Changing in contamination thresholds and requiring LNP capability for all carriers could make about 800,000 of these stranded numbers available for reassignment. The CPUC should continue its collaborative process with the FCC and the telecommunications industry to implement Unassigned Number Porting, the development of non-geographic-specific area codes, and other measures that will increase the utilization of numbers. The CPUC should begin implementation of the number conservation and management practices found in the Recommendations section of this report. As a public resource, it is important that our numbering supplies are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.