Information for Area Code: 251-xxx-xxxx - AL - ALABAMA
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The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) is an integrated telephone numbering plan of 24 countries and territories: the United States and its territories, Canada, Bermuda, and 16 Caribbean nations. It is a system of three-digit area codes and seven-digit telephone numbers that directs telephone calls to particular regions on a public switched telephone network (PSTN), where they are further routed by the local network.
Developed in 1947 and first implemented in 1951 by AT&T, the NANP set out to simplify and facilitate direct dialing of long distance calls. Area code 201 was the first implemented under the plan. It initially applied only to the U.S. and Canada, but at the request of the British Colonial Office, it was expanded to Bermuda and the British West Indies (including Trinidad and Tobago), due to their historic telecommunications administration through Canada as parts of the British Empire and their continued associations with that country, especially during the years of the telegraph and the All Red Line system.
Despite the "North American" name of the calling plan, Mexico, the Central American countries and some Caribbean nations are not part of the system, although Mexican participation was planned and partly implemented, with direct dialing from the NANP to some parts of Mexico until 1991.
The NANP is administered by the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA).
Current NANP number format can be summed up via the following:
- NPA Nxx Station
- NPA (Numbering Plan Area code) = [2-9][0-8][0-9]
- NXX (Central Office or Exchange code) = [2-9][0-9][0-9]
- Station code = [0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]
- 234 234 5678 is valid
- 123 234 5678 is invalid, because NPA cannot begin with a "1"
The country calling code for the NANP is 1. When listing a number in the NANP it would be listed as +1 301 555 2368. Coincidentally "1" is the code used to make direct dialed calls within the NANP.
Dialing plans vary from place to place depending on whether an area has overlays (multiple area codes serving the same area) and whether the jurisdiction requires toll alerting (a leading 1 for toll calls). The NANPA's web site includes dialing plan information in its information on individual area codes.
In areas without overlays and without toll alerting, calls within an area code are dialed as seven digits (7D), and calls outside the area code are dialed as 1 followed by 10 digits (1+10D). Most areas allow permissive dialing of 1+10D even for calls that could be dialed as 7D. The number of digits dialed is unrelated to whether a call is local or toll.
In areas with overlays, local calls are all dialed as 10D. (In New York City, the preferred form is 1+10D but 10D also works.) In areas without toll alerting, all calls to numbers within the caller's area code and overlay codes serving the same area can be dialed as either 10D or 1+10D, while calls to other area codes must be 1+10D. In areas with toll alerting, all toll calls must be dialed as 1+10D. Most areas permit local calls to be dialed as 1+10D except for Texas and some jurisdictions in Canada which require that callers know which numbers are local and which are toll, dialing 10D for all local calls and 1+10D for all toll calls.
Despite the similar dialing format, calls between different countries and territories that use the NANP are not necessarily charged as domestic. Calls between the US and Canada are treated as international, although typically charged at lower rates than calls to other countries. Calls to other destinations in the NANP area can be high; for example, it generally costs more to call Bermuda from the US than it does to call the UK or Japan, even though the dialing format is the same as the domestic format. Similarly, calls from Bermuda to US numbers, (including toll-free 1-800), incur high international rates. This was because many of the island nations at the time implemented a plan of subsidizing the cost of local phone services by directly charging heavier pricing levies on the international Long Distance services.
On account of these higher fees, a handful of scams had taken advantage of customers' unfamiliarity with pricing structure to call the legacy regional 809 area code. Some scams lured customers from the U.S. and Canada into placing expensive calls to the Caribbean, by representing the area code (809) as a regular domestic, low-cost, or toll-free call. These scams are currently on the decline, with many of the Cable and Wireless service monopolies being opened up to competition, hence bringing rates down.
In order to facilitate direct dialing calls, the NANP was created and instituted in 1947 by AT&T, also known as the Bell System, the U.S. telephone monopoly. At first, the codes were used only by long-distance operators; the first customer-dialed calls using area codes did not occur until November 10, 1951, when the first directly-dialed call was made from Englewood, New Jersey. Direct dialing was gradually instituted throughout the country, and by the mid-1960s, it was commonplace in most larger cities.
Originally there were 86 codes, with the biggest population areas getting the numbers that took the shortest time to dial on rotary phones. That is why New York City was given 212, Los Angeles given 213, and Chicago 312, while Vermont received 802 (a total of 20 clicks, 8+10+2). Four areas received the then-maximum number of 21 clicks: South Dakota (605), North Carolina (704), South Carolina (803), and Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritimes (902). Additionally, in the original plan a middle digit of zero generally indicated the number was for an entire state or province, while a middle digit of one indicated that it was for a smaller region.
At first, area codes were in the form N-Y-X, where N is any number 2~9, Y is 0 or 1, and X is any number 1~9 (if Y is 0) or any number 2~9 (if Y is 1). The restriction on N saves 0 for calling the operator, and 1 for signaling a long-distance call. The restriction on the second digit, limiting it to 0 or 1, was designed to help telephone equipment recognize the difference between a three-digit area code and a three-digit prefix to the telephone number. For example, when a caller dialed "1-202-555-1212", the switching equipment would recognize that "202" was an area code because of the middle 0, and route the call appropriately. If a caller were to dial 1-345-6789, the 4 would be recognized as a long-distance call within the area code and routed as such, without waiting to see or guessing at how many digits the caller meant to enter.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, NANPA (then still part of Bellcore) began to urge and later require all long-distance calls within each area to include the code, so that badly-needed prefixes with 0 or 1 in the middle could be assigned to local telephone exchanges. Also, as it had run out of area codes using the above formula, it allowed the assignment of area codes using the form N-1-0.
Calls to Mexico (until 1991)
Until 1991, calls to some areas of Mexico from the United States and Canada were made using the North American Numbering Plan area codes. For example, to call a number in northwest Mexico and Mexico City before 1991:
- 1 905 xxx xxxx (Mexico City)
- 1 706 xxx xxxx (northwest Mexico) (prior to 1980, the code was 903, rather than 706)
From that year, this was discontinued in favor of the international format:
- +52 5 xxx xx xx (Mexico City; now 011 52 55 xx xx xx xx (eight-digit local number))
- +52 6 xxx xx xx (northwest Mexico; now 011 52 6xx xxx xx xx)
Expansion of area codes
The United States has experienced rapid growth in the number of area codes, particularly in the 1990s and early 2000s. There are two main reasons for this. First, there is the increasing demand for telephone services (particularly due to widescale adoption of fax, modem, and cell phone communications). The second and more important reason is due to telecom deregulation of local telephone service in the United States beginning in the early to mid-1990s. At that time, the Federal Communications Commission began allowing telecommunication companies to compete with the incumbent local service provider (usually by forcing the exiting monopoly service provider to lease infrastructure to other local providers who then resold the service to consumers). However, due to the original design of the numbering plan and telephone switching network which assumed only a single provider, number allocations had to be made in 10,000-number blocks. Thus, anytime a new local service provider entered a certain market it would be allocated 10,000 numbers by default, even if the provider managed to obtain only a few, if any customers. As more companies began requesting numbering allocations, this caused many area codes to begin exhausting their supply of available numbers (code "in jeopardy" in telecom jargon), and additional area codes were needed. In reality many of the new telecom ventures were not successful and while the number of area codes started increasing rapidly, this did not necessarily translate to a much larger number of actual telephone subscribers as large blocks of numbers lay unassigned to any "real" subscribers due to the 10,000-number block allocation requirement.
In general, area codes were added either as "splits" (in which an area code was divided into two or more regions, one retaining the older area code and the other areas receiving a new code), or "overlays", in which multiple area codes were assigned to the same geographical area. Subtle variations of these techniques have been used as well, such as "dedicated overlays" (in which the new overlaid area code was reserved for a particular type of service, such as cell phone and fax machine) and "concentrated overlays" (in which some of the area retained a single area code, while the rest of the region received an overlay code).
After the remaining valid area codes were used up in expansion, in 1995 the rapid increase in the need for more area codes (both splits and overlays) forced NANPA to allow the digits 2~8 to be used as a middle digit in new area code assignments, with 9 being reserved as a "last resort" for potential future expansion. The first Area codes without a 1 or 0 as the middle digit were Area code 334 in Alabama and Area code 360 in Washington, which both began service on January 15, 1995. Area codes, or "number planning areas" ending in double digits, such as toll-free 800, 888, 877, and 866, personal 700 numbers, and high-toll 900 numbers, are reserved as Easily-recognizable codes (ERCs) and are not issued to actual areas. (Nevada was declined lucky 777 for this reason.)
Splits and overlays
By 1995, many cities in the United States and Canada had more than one area code, either through splitting the city into different areas (splits) or having more than one area code for the same geographical area (overlays). For example, in Manhattan, New York, subscribers' numbers had the NPA code 212, but two additional codes—first 917 (which initially was exclusively for cell phones and faxes until struck down in a federal court), then 646—were also introduced. This means that the area code must be dialed, even for local calls. In other areas, 10-digit or 11-digit dialing is now required for all local calls. The transition to 10-digit dialing typically starts with a permissive dialing phase in which both 7-digit and 10-digit dialing is optional. During this period, the transition is heavily publicized. After a period of several months, the mandatory dialing phase is introduced, in which 7-digit dialing no longer works. Atlanta, Georgia, was the first city in the United States to have mandatory 10-digit dialing throughout its metro area, roughly coinciding with the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Atlanta was used as the test case because at the time, it enjoyed the world's largest fiber optic bundle (equal to five times that of New York's), it was a big enough city without being too big, and it is home to BellSouth, the Southeastern Regional Bell Operating Company.
- 7-digit dialing: xxx xxxx (NPA code not required)
- 10-digit dialing: NPA xxx xxxx
- 11-digit dialing: 1 NPA xxx xxxx
The overlap between area codes and exchange prefixes has occasionally produced some confusion because the three digits can be the same for both. Nashua, New Hampshire, for example, has a local exchange that begins 888, which is also an area code for toll-free calls. If somebody in Nashua means to call 1-888-555-1212 but forgets the initial "1," he or she will actually dial the local number 1-603-888-5551. This, however, is generally not a problem in major metropolitan areas with overlapping area codes, which were mandated by the FCC to dial all ten digits for all local calls so as not to give new numbers or telecommunications providers a "disadvantage."
Depending on the techniques used for area code expansion, the effect on telephone users varies. In areas in which overlays were used, this generally avoids the need for converting telephone numbers, so existing directories, business records, letterheads, and advertising can retain the same numbers, which the overlay is used for new number allocation. The primary impact on telephone users is the necessity of remembering and dialing 10- or 11-digit numbers when only 7-digit dialing was previously permissible.
The use of a split instead of an overlay generally avoids the requirement for mandatory area-code dialing, but at the expense of having to convert some of the numbers to the new area code. In addition to the requirements of updating records and directories to accommodate the new numbers, for efficient conversion this requires a period of "permissive dialing" in which both the new and old area codes of the split are allowed to work. Also, in many splits there were significant technical issues involved, especially when the area code splits occurred over boundaries other than phone network divisions.
As an extreme example of a split, in 1998 the Twin Cities, which until that point used the 612 area code, split into the 612 and 651 codes, with St. Paul and the eastern metropolitan area receiving the new 651 code. However, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission mandated that the split boundary exactly follow municipal boundaries (which were distinctly different from telephone exchange boundaries), and that all subscribers keep their 7-digit numbers. These two goals were directly at odds with one another, and there were more than 40 exchanges whose prefix territory straddled town boundaries along the zone split. The result was prefixes duplicated in both area codes, which counteracted much of the benefit of the split, with only 200 of 700 prefixes in 612 moving entirely to 651. As a result, in less than two years the 612 area code again exhausted its number space, and underwent a 3-way split in 2000, creating the 763 and 952 area codes. Again, the split followed political boundaries rather than rate center boundaries, resulting in additional split prefixes, and in a few cases resulted in numbers initially moved to area 651 being moved again to the 763 code in less than two years.
Decrease in expansion rate
Recognizing that the major cause in the proliferation of area codes was due to the telecom deregulation act and the 10,000 number block assignment, the FCC instructed NeuStar to look for a solution to alleviate the numbering shortage. As a result a new program called "number pooling" was piloted in 2001 which allowed allocating numbers in 1,000-number blocks rather than 10,000 numbers. Due to the design of switched telephone network, this was a considerable technical challenge and was carried out together with another technically-challenging program, local number portability. Since then the program has been rolled out to most parts of the United States and together with aggressive reclamation of unused number blocks from telecom providers, the need for additional area codes has been reduced, so much so that the implementation of large numbers of previously designated area splits and overlays has been postponed indefinitely.
Alphabetic mnemonic system
Another oddity of NANP telephone numbering is the popularity of alphabetic dialing. On most US and Canadian telephones, three letters appear on each number button from 2 through 9. This accommodates 24 letters. Historically, the letters Q and Z were omitted, though on some modern telephones, they are added, so that the alphabet is apportioned as follows:
2 = ABC 3 = DEF 4 = GHI 5 = JKL 6 = MNO 7 = P(Q)RS 8 = TUV 9 = WXY(Z)
No letters are allocated to the 1 or 0 keys (although some corporate voice mail systems are set up to count Q and Z as 1, and some old telephones assigned the Z to the digit 0).
Originally, this scheme was meant as a mnemonic device for telephone number prefixes. When telephone numbers in the US were standardized in the mid-20th century, they were made seven digits long, including a two-digit prefix, the latter expressed as letters rather than numbers. (Before World War II, many localities used three letters and four numbers, and in much of California during this period, phone numbers had only six digits — two letters followed by four numbers.) The prefix was a name, and the first two or three letters (usually shown in capitals) of the name were dialed. Later, the third letter (where previously used) was replaced by a number; this generally happened after World War II, although New York City did this in 1930. Thus, the famous Glenn Miller tune "PEnnsylvania 6-5000" refers to a telephone number 736-5000, the number of the Hotel Pennsylvania, which still bears the same number today. Similarly, the classic Elizabeth Taylor film "BUtterfield 8" refers to the section of New York City where the film is set, where the telephone prefixes include 288 (on the East Side of Manhattan between roughly 64th and 86th Streets). This is why, in some works of fiction, phone numbers will begin with "KLondike 5" or "KLamath 5", which translates to 555, a mostly unused and reserved exchange. This practice continues in film and television to this day, even though the prefix system has long been unused.
Today this system has been abandoned (in fact it generally stopped by the mid-1970s), but alphabetic dialing remains as a commercial mnemonic gimmick, particularly when combined with toll-free numbers. For example, one can dial 1-800-FLOWERS to send flowers to someone. Sometimes, longer words are used - for example one might be invited to give money to a public radio station by dialing 1-866-KPBS-GIVE. The "number" is 8 digits long, but only the first seven need be dialed. If an eighth (or more) digit is dialed, the switching system will ignore it. Mobile users may need to manually drop any numbers past the seventh digit as some mobile switching systems will not automatically ignore them, resulting in a failed call. In addition to commercial uses, alphabetic dialing still remains, in rare cases, in regional area codes in the United States. For example, when East Tennessee was split into two area codes in 1999, the region surrounding Knoxville received a new code; the code 865 was chosen to represent the word "VOL"—short for "Volunteers", the nickname of athletic teams at the University of Tennessee. Likewise, when the 606 area code of central and eastern Kentucky was split, Lexington, the region's largest city, adopted the new code 859 (which spells UKY) in honor of the University of Kentucky. The Miami area originally had the 305 area code, but then 786 was added due to the increasing demand for telephone numbers. 786 spells out SUN in honor of Florida being the Sunshine State. In the mid-80's the State of Nevada pushed hard for area code 777 (lucky 7's), but was unable to secure it.
Cellular services and the NANP numbering scheme
A difference between the NANP system and other plans is that apart from area code 600 in Canada, no separate, non-geographical area codes have been created for cellular phones, as is the case in most European and Asian countries, where mobile services are assigned their own prefixes. This means that most North American mobile phones are assigned the same locality-specific codes as landlines, and calls to them are billed at the same rate. Consequently, the caller-pays pricing model adopted in other countries, in which calls to cell phones are charged at a higher nationwide rate, but receiving calls is free, could not be used. Instead, North American cellphone users are also generally charged to receive calls as well (subscriber pays). In the past, this discouraged mobile users from using the phones or giving out the number. However, robust price competition among carriers has led to dramatic cuts in the average price per minute for contract customers (for both inbound and outbound calls), which can compare favorably to those in caller-pays countries. Most users select bundle pricing plans that include all the minutes they expect to use in a month, and many carriers offer first inbound minute free or in some cases, entirely free inbound calling.
Some industry observers have blamed user pays as one of the main factors in the relatively low penetration rate of mobile telephony in the United States compared to that of Europe. However, in the wireless-subscriber-pays model the convenience of the mobility inures to the subscriber, which many users regard as a fairer pricing system. Callers from outside the local-calling region of the assigned number are, however, forced to pay for a long-distance call, although domestic long distance rates are generally lower than the rates caller-pays systems charge (conversely, an advantage of caller-pays is the relative absence of telemarketing and nuisance calls to mobile numbers). The integrated numbering plan also enables local number portability between fixed and wireless services within a region, allowing users to switch to mobile service while keeping their phone number, which is not a common option in caller-pays systems.
The initial plan for overlays did allow for providing separate area codes for use by mobile phones, faxes, pagers, etc., although these were still assigned to a specific geographical area, rather than the nationwide mobile area codes common to most other countries, and were charged at the same rate as other area codes. Initially, the new 917 area code for New York City was specifically assigned for this purpose within the 5 boroughs; however, a Federal court struck this down and banned the use of an area code for a specific telephony purpose. Since mobile telephony is expanding faster than landline, new area codes typically have a disproportionately large fraction of mobile numbers, although landline and other services rapidly follow and local network portability can blur these distinctions.
The experience of Hurricane Katrina and similar events revealed a possible disadvantage of the methods employed in the geographic assignment of cellular numbers. Many mobile phone users could not be reached, their phones rendered inoperable, even when they were far from the stricken areas, because the routing of calls to their phones depended on equipment in the affected area. A hypothetical caller-pays system with separate numbers would not have required geographical routing, although the existing system could have been designed to avoid this problem as well.
Another related issue for services like mobile telephony is the scarcity of telephone numbers. In contrast to other countries, where mobile and other special-number operators enjoy wide leeway to generate large numbers of telephone numbers, this is not an option in the NANP, with its geographical area codes with a fixed number of digits. Because of the scarcity of telephone numbers, the market value of each is consequently higher. This has been cited by mobile operators as another factor putting pressure on the development of cellular services, and of pay as you go in particular, although the decreasing rate at which new telephone numbers are being allocated suggests that other factors may be at work.
New area codes
Prior to 1995, all other NANP countries and territories outside the fifty United States and Canada, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, shared the NPA code 809, but they are now able to have separate codes. Code (809) is now only used by the Dominican Republic. In 1997 the US Pacific Territories of the Northern Marianas and Guam became part of the NANP, as did American Samoa in October 2004.
- Until 1995: +1 809 29x xxxx
- After 1995: +1 441 (xxx) xxxx
- Until 1996: +1 809 xxx xxxx
- 1996-2001: +1 787 xxx xxxx
- After 2001: +1 787 xxx xxxx or +1 939 xxx xxxx (overlay for entire island)
US Virgin Islands:
- Until 1997: +1 809 xxx xxxx
- After 1997: +1 340 xxx xxxx
- Until 1997: +670 xxx xxxx
- After 1997: +1 670 xxx xxxx
- Until 1997: +671 xxx xxxx
- After 1997: +1 671 xxx xxxx
- Until October 1, 2004: +684 xxx xxxx
- After October 2, 2004: +1 684 xxx xxxx
See also: Split from the 809 Area code
Fictional telephone numbers
In American television shows and films, 555 (or, in older movies and shows, KLondike 5 or KLamath 5) is used as the first three digits of fictional telephone numbers, so if anyone is tempted to telephone a number seen on screen, it does not cause a nuisance to any actual person. (A classic example of such a nuisance is the 1982 song 867-5309/Jenny by Tommy Tutone, which is still the cause of a large number of nuisance calls. Similarly, the song Diary by Alicia Keys says to call 489-4608 and I'll be here. It was intended to be called only by people in New York to get her voicemail.)
However, not all numbers beginning with "555" are fictional. For example, 555-1212 is the number for directory assistance in many places. In many, but not all areas, dialing "555" numbers other than 555-1212 will actually get you to directory assistance as well. In fact, only 555-0100 through 555-0199 are now reserved for fictional use, with the other numbers having been released for assignment. Some movies have started to use fictional telephone numbers starting with "1", giving someone a "telephone number" of 167-1402 in one film, for example.
Future expansion of NANP
Main article: North American numbering plan expansion
The North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA) is now overseen by NeuStar Inc., which will face the task of adding at least one or two digits to the system within the next 25 years, likely before 2030. During that time, all public and private phone systems on the continent will have to be upgraded and reprogrammed (or even replaced) to recognize the new dialing rules.
The plans being considered now add a 1 or 0 to the beginning or end of the area code or the beginning of the local 7-digit number (or both), which will require mandatory 10-digit dialing (even for local calls) be in place everywhere, well before the transition period. In another proposal, existing codes may be changed to "x9xx" (e.g. San Francisco 415 would become 4915); once that conversion is complete, the new second digit would be opened for a new range. Other proposals include reallocating blocks of numbers assigned to smaller long distance carriers or unused reserved services.
Other vertical service codes, such as *69 (callback) and *70 (suspend call waiting), are also getting an extra digit, as have long-distance service provider codes such as 10-321 (now 10-10-321), all requiring the coordination of the NANPA.
Special numbers and codes
Some common special numbers in the North American system:
- 0 - Telephone Operator Assistance.
- 00 - Long Distance Operator Assistance.
- 011 - International Access Code. (For all destinations outside the NANP)
- 01 - International Access Code using Operator Assistance. (For all destinations outside the NANP)
- 10x xxxx - Used to select use of an alternative long distance provider.
- 211 - Community Information or Social services (In some cities), formerly payphone refund line (and prior to that, used to access "long distance" operators in some cities).
- 311 - City government or Non-emergency police matters (In some cities).
- 411 - Local telephone directory service. (Some telephone companies provide national directory assistance).
- 511 - Traffic, road, and tourist information or reads back the number you are calling from (i.e. drop line ID). (In some cities and states).
- 611 - Telephone line repair service (Some telephone companies use this instead of 4104 or 811). Also used by mobile telephone companies to reach customer service.
- 711 - Relay service for customers with hearing or speech disabilities
- 811 - "Dig safe" underground pipe safety line in the United States, non-urgent telehealth services in Canada, formerly telephone company business office
- 911 - Emergency dispatcher for fire, ambulance, police etc.
- (Area Code) + 555-1212 - Non-local directory service.
There are also special codes, such as:
- *57 and 1157 (Large per-use fee.) Used to "trace" harassment phone calls, and keep results of trace at phone company.)
- *66 and 1166 To keep retrying a busy-line (see also Called-party camp-on)
- *67 and 1167 Caller ID Block
- *69 and 1169 Call Return caller may press '1' to return call after hearing number
- *70 and 1170 Cancel call waiting on a call-by-call basis
- *82 and 1182 Releases Caller ID block on a call-by-call basis
Note: The four digit numbers do not work in some areas. The codes prefixed with the * symbol are intended for use on Touch-Tone telephones whereas the 4 digit numbers prefixed 11-- are intended for use on older rotary dial telephones where the Touch-Tone * symbol is not available.
Not all NANPA countries use the same codes. For example, the emergency telephone number is not always 911: Trinidad and Tobago uses 999, as in the United Kingdom. The country of Barbados uses 211 for police force, 311 for fire, and 511 for ambulance.
Despite its early importance as a share of the worldwide telephone system, few of the NANP's codes, such as 911, have been adopted outside the system. The European Union uses its own standardized number of 112, while countries in Asia and the rest of the world use a variety of other 2 or 3 digit emergency telephone number combinations. Also, the European Union and many other countries have chosen the International Telecommunication Union's 00 as their international access number instead of 011. Only the toll-free prefix 800 has been widely adopted elsewhere, including as the international toll-free number.
List of NANPA countries and territories
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- United States, including Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa
- ^ "NOW YOU CAN CALL, IF YOUR CALLS DON'T WORK SOME BUSINESS LINES AREN'T SET UP TO CALL TO NEW AREA CODES.", The Virginian-Pilot, November 1, 1995. Accessed June 8, 2007. "When the first area code, 201, was introduced in New Jersey in 1951, phone-numbering experts thought there would be enough codes with a middle digit of ``0 or ``1 to last well into the next century."
- ^ 1951: First Direct-Dial Transcontinental Telephone Call, AT&T. Accessed June 8, 2007. "Nov. 10, 1951: Mayor M. Leslie Downing of Englewood, N.J., picked up a telephone and dialed 10 digits. Eighteen seconds later, he reached Mayor Frank Osborne in Alameda, Calif. The mayors made history as they chatted in the first customer-dialed long-distance call, one that introduced area codes."
- Map of the original 86 area codes from 1947
- Animation of US area codes since 1947
- North American Numbering Council