855 for Toll Free Services to be Implemented

The Wireline Competition Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) authorized opening the 855 toll free code on October 1, 2010. The announcement was made on June 25, 2010.

The 866 and 855 NPA (Numbering Plan Areas) codes for toll-free service were assigned in1999, supplementing the 800, 888, and 877 NPAs.  The 866 NPA code went into service in July 2000, but implementation of the 855 NPA was deferred until now.  The Database Service Management Inc. forecasted that the current supply of toll free numbers was expected to reach the90% threshold in the fourth quarter of 2011, serving as the impetus for this action.

Earlier this year, the 544 NPA was assigned for personal communication services (PCS) and overlays were announced for Western Quebec (873 to overlay 819), Oklahoma (539 to overlay 918), New York (929 to overlay 718/347), Quebec (579 to overlay 450), and Arkansas(327 to overlay 870).

An overlay means that a new area code is assigned to the same geographic region as existing code(s).  With an overlay, no one needs to change area codes; however, ten-digit dialing becomes required for all calls.