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8 September 2011, 16:00
Telecoms regulator Ofcom, says by 2016 people in the 01223 area, will have to dial that part of the number, because new land-line numbers are running out again.
A spokesman for Ofcom told Heart: "The plans will avoid the need to change existing phone numbers and will mean consumers and businesses continue to enjoy the widest choice of providers. Currently, Ofcom allocates 01 and 02 telephone numbers to around 300 communications providers free of charge in large blocks. These companies then use the numbers to provide services to homes, businesses and other organisations.
The number of communications providers has increased significantly over the last six 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 phone numbers as well as some communications providers holding a significant quantity of unused numbers."
From next year, a pilot scheme to charge communications providers for local numbers will begin in some areas including Bournemouth, to encourage their efficient use.
In mid-2012, people in those areas, where phone numbers are becoming very scarce, will need to dial the whole number when making local calls. It will enable Ofcom to make more numbers available in those areas.
By 2016, the system of dialling the whole area code AND the local number when making a local call will reach Cambridge (01223), alongside Aberdeen, Bradford, Brighton and Milton Keynes.
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