Following claims that new fixed line telephone numbers are running low, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has proposed changes to the way local telephone numbers are dialled in some parts of the country. Under the regulator’s plans, residents in five UK cities – Aberdeen, Bradford, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes – would be required to include the area code when dialling a local number from a landline; at present dialling codes can be omitted for local calls. With the current setup meaning that Ofcom is unable to allocate local numbers beginning with a 0 or a 1, the watchdog has said that it plans to implement the new system from 1 October 2014 in the aforementioned cities. The locations have been chosen as they are dialling code areas where the supply of new telephone numbers is running low due to high demand.
In outlining its proposals and the reasoning behind them, Ofcom noted: ‘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. The cost of calls would not be affected, and those who dial without the area code after the change would hear a recorded message asking them to include it’.
The consultation regarding the plans closes on 13 September 2013, and Ofcom has said it expects to publish its decision in a statement later in the autumn.