Volume 93, Issue 58

Thursday, January 13, 2000


VP-finance talks money

Davenport addresses USC

Western donates for safety

Western proves winner in latest round of NSERC funding

New area code connects with Torontonians

AOL, Time Warner join forces


Caught on Campus

New area code connects with Torontonians

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

Toronto area residents will soon have to let their fingers do a lot more walking, when a new 10 digit dialing system is implemented.

People in the Greater Toronto Area who share the 416 area code can expect to be using a 10 digit mandatory overlay dialing system as early as Mar. 5, 2001, said Glen Pilley, program manager for the Canadian Numbering Administration.

The CNA is a division of Science Application International Corp. Canada, a small company responsible under Canadian Radio Telecommunications-television Commission regulations to assign Central Office Codes for telephone users in every area code in Canada.

COCs are the first three digits found in every telephone number, Pilley explained. He said in every area code there are 780 possible COCs, ranging from 201 to 999.

Pilley added with over three million people living in the 416 area code and 7.8 million available telephone numbers, SAIC Canada predicts seven digit telephone numbers will run out in 2001.

"Every year we do a study to determine how many years it will take an area code to run out of COCs. It already happened with 416 in 1993," Pilley said, referring to the restructuring which increased the 905 area to accommodate the surge of 416 requests.

Pilley explained every new telephone number assigned after Mar. 5, 2001 in the currently designated 416 area will be given the brand new 647 area code, regardless of geographic location.

"We couldn't split it again like we did with 416 and 905 because of technical restrictions," he said. "It would cost multimillions to change the hardwiring."

The new system, already functional with 416 numbers, will require residents to dial 10 digits even when calling within local areas, Pilley said. He explained people calling within or between the 416 or 647 area codes must first dial the three digit area code to be connected. No long distance charges will be levied as the number "1" will not be dialed with the area code.

Ann Mahdy, spokesperson for Bell Canada, said this will not affect local telephone service. "This is not a Bell Canada decision, it's an industry decision," Mahdy said. "Every local provider like Bell, AT&T, Cantel will have to implement the system."

According to a 1996 census by Statistics Canada, there were 653,734 people living in metro Toronto as of four years ago, said Lily Eisenberg, communications officer with Statistics Canada. She also confirmed a 2.9 per cent jump in Toronto's population from 1991 to 1996. This increase, Pilley said, is one of the factors contributing to the COC exhaust.

"People have numbers for their cell phones, offices, pagers and fax machines," Pilley said. "That's a lot of people and a lot of numbers."

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