TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Crossborder 7-Digit

Re: Crossborder 7-Digit

Anthony Bellanga (
Thu, 09 Mar 2006 05:40:00 -0700

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Robert Bonomi wrote:

> wrote:

>> For you geography fans out there:

>> Just out curiosity, would anyone know the rates and dialing
>> procedures between such very close small border towns of:

>> Madawaska, Maine and Edmunston, New Brunswick
>> Pembina, North Dakota and Emerson, Manitoba
>> Sweetgrass, Montana and Coutts, Alberta
>> Thomas Falls, Montana and Burke Idaho

> Burke, Idaho is, for practical purposes, a ghost town

> (Wallace, ID is the "big" town in the area, population circa 1100.)

> All inter-state dialing in that vicinity is 1+areacode+number.`
> Pretty much the entire width of the state is the "local calling area",
> less than 30 miles _west_ gets you into WA state.

> Telco switching offices are "few and far between" up there --
> population density is *low*. I know there's one in Wallace, and one
> in Sand Point. I think there's also one in Cour D'elane, and maybe
> Kellogg.

In my earlier reply on this subject regarding the US/Canada
crossborder situations, I mentioned that two of the four "pairs" above
that were asked about were indeed local (free) calls! I also
referenced Ray Chow's Local Calling Guide website as well, which also
has a summary of all known US/Canada bordertown pairs which have local
calling with each other. Pembina ND (USA) and Emerson MB (Canada) are
not indicated as local (free) at Ray Chow's website -- so I assume
that they are toll to each other.

I also didn't realize that the fourth and last entry inquired about
was intra-USA inter-state -- the Burke ID and "Thomas Falls" MT pair.

Detailed telephone company numbering and geographical records show
that Burke ID is associated with the Wallace ID exchange. This is all
GTE of North Idaho, now part of Verizon. Ray Chow's website does show
that Wallace ID (which includes Burke ID) is local with other nearby
north ID exchanges (all of them GTE now Verizon), but doesn't indicate
any local calling with anything in nearby Montana.

I also was unable to find ANYTHING called "Thomas Falls" MT in any
telephone company lists, nor on any map search programs (Mapquest,
Yahoo Maps, Google Maps, etc). But I was able to find *Thompson* Falls
in Montana, not too far away from the Wallace/Burke ID area. Telephone
company numbering and geographic lists show that Thompson Falls MT is
served by the Blackfoot Telephone Co-operative. Ray Chow's website
shows that Thompson Falls ID has local (free) calling with other
nearby MT exchanges, but doesn't have any local calling with anything
in nearby Idaho.

> The feds regulated max rates for (domestic U.S.) inter-state calls,
> and a formula based strictly on distance was employed -- Burke
> (vicinity) to Thomas Falls would have been about the same as Omaha NE
> to Council Bluffs IA,

But there are some local (free) interstate calling situations, some of
them within the same LATA (and LATAs can cover all or part of two or
more adjacent states), or the interstate local calling could even be
between different LATAs as well. I don't know how much regulation the
FCC has over these arrangements after they have been put into effect,
but I do know that any proposal for future interstate calling
arrangements (and international, such as US/Canada) would require FCC
approval, as well as approval by both US-state regulatory agencies,
and if involving Canada at the border, the CRTC would also have to
approve. Even any proposed future local calling arrangements within a
state but crossing over a LATA boundary has to get a "nod" from the
FCC, as well as from the state regulatory agency.

Carter Lake IA gets its dialtone from Omaha NE, and I think that there
has been local calling between the two going back many many decades.
Council Bluffs IA didn't always have local calling with the Omaha NE
area, but ISTR heraing that local (free) calling has probably been in
place since the mid-1960s era. But there are still various calls
within this section of the NE/IA border that are toll, although they
are within the same "LATA". The Omaha NE (and vicninty) LATA does
cover quite a bit of Iowa side as well as the Nebraska side.

> or Souix City IA to South Souix City SD.

NOTE: It is Sioux City IA, South Sioux City NE, and North Sioux City

These three communities have local calling with each other, and area
all part of the same LATA (the Qwest Telco "Sioux City IA" LATA).

The incumbent telco (Qwest, formerly US West, formerly Northwestern
Bell) in Sioux City IA also provides dialtone to the N.Sioux City SD
customers. But Qwest (US West, Northwestern Bell) in S.Sioux City ND
customers have their own central office switch. (However, CLECs and
wireless have their own network structure which is not necessarily
following exactly what the incumbent Qwest does for providing service
and dialtone).

I don't know for certain, but I would assume that the local calling in
the Sioux City IA / N.Sioux City SD / S.Sioux City NE situation might
still be permissive seven-digits.

John Levine wrote:

> U.S. phone companies ended "protected" prefixes several years ago.
> That was the arrangement near the edge of an area code that let you
> dial local calls with 7D into another area code, by reserving the
> prefix in both area codes.

> Canada still had this arrangement until I think last year, notably in
> the Ottawa / Hull area which is partly in 613, partly in 819. They're
> also ending protected codes so people in Ottawa now have to dial all
> ten digits to Hull and vice versa.

The practice of "protecting" central office codes across state or area
code boundaries to facilitate permissive seven-digit local dialing is
*still* being practiced, despite being "frowned upon" by the telco
industry and the FCC/CRTC, but is apparantly still being "winked at",
mostly in rural areas. However, remember that "code protection"
usually means protecting a central office code from being assigned in
an adjacent area code *ONLY* in the immediate vicinity, NOT from being
assigned "anywhere else" within the adjacent area code. But the Ottawa
ON/Hull QC arrangement allowed "full dual dialability" of either/both
613 or/both 819 for calling into that metro area. All Ottawa ON side
613-NXX codes had to be fully protected from being assigned *anywhere*
in the QC 819 area code, and vice-versa, all Hull QC side 819-NXX
codes had to be fully protected from being assigned *anywhere* in the
ON 613 area code.

This type of *full* code "protection" was rare in the US (and quite
possibly rare in Canada as well). I don't think that there is any more
"full" central office code protection anywhere else in the NANP,
except for the Ottawa/Hull situation. With one exception (which I'll
elaborate on in a moment), ALL forms of code protection in the Ottawa
ON/Hull QC area is being ended by this year. And all (local, free)
calls between Ottawa ON (613) and Hull QC (819) will require full
ten-digit dialing (the correct destination area code followed by
seven-digits) later this year. Additionally, ALL (local) calls
*everywhere else* in both 613 ON and 819 QC will also be mandatory
ten-digits! Even if you are "local only unto your own exchange"! Area
Code 613 is not expected to need "relief" (most likely an overlay)
until 2012 or 2015 (by eliminating all code protection in the
Ottawa/Hull area), and Area Code 819 is not expected to need "relief"
for decades to come (especially after eliminating all code
protection). Yet mandatory ten-digit local dialing is being extended
across the entire coverage area of both area codes!

The one exeption of code protection in the Ottawa/Hull area applies
only to the NXX office codes for the Federal Government of Canada's
own Centrex system. These five or six office codes will continue to
exist in both 819 and 613, and will be dialable with either of those
two area codes.

More information on Ottawa ON (613)/Hull QC (819) can be found from
the Canadian Numbering Administrator's website (,
and Neustar NANPA even has a Planning Letter on this issue as well: "NPA 613 & NPA 819 Relief -- Phase
One -- Dial Plan Change" dated August 20, 2004.

Pat Townson wrote:

> And did you know that through the 1960's and into the 1970's, prefixes
> were not duplicated in adjacent area codes/states.

For the most part, that only applied to the area covered under a local
calling area that "straddled" a state/NPA code boundary. With a very
few rare exceptions, there wasn't any "full" or "total" protection
against assignment "anywhere" in adjacent area codes.

> For example, since Hammond/Whiting, IN (219 but exactly on the state
> line with Illinois and Chicago) since there was 219-931, 219-932,
> 219-933, 219-659 there were NOT any 931,932,933, 659 exchanges in
> area 312.

Well, the 219-NNX office codes (Indiana side) that were immediately
adjacent to the Illinois (312) side might not be duplicated anywhere
and everywhere throughout the 312 area code (Chicago IL Metro). But I
doubt that OTHER parts of 219, much further away from Chicago IL Metro,
much "deeper" into Indiana in NPA 219, woud have had their 219-NNX office
codes "unduplicated, anywhere and everywhere" in area code 312. And I
doubt that ALL 312-NNX office codes were "unduplicated, anywhere and
everywehre" in the 219 area code. "Full and total" code protection was
rare in the US. I think such code protection might have been "approached"
in the "old" days in the Washington DC Metro area (which also includes
northern VA and suburban MD), but even there it wasn't "perfect" to the
degree that "NOTHING" in the immeidate vicinity was "completely
unduplicated (rather untriplicated), anywhere and everywhere else"
throughout 202/301/703 -- although C&P Tel did come close to it!

And even the 312 (IL)/219 (IN) form of code protection you describe
wasn't always universal neither. New York City (212) had NNX office
codes that were also assigned in New Jersey (201) even in northeastern
NJ across the Hudson River from New York City, and vice-versa. And
that was the situation even in the 1950s and earlier. The NJ (Newark,
etc) side had developed its switching and office codes separately from
the New York City side. Calls across the Hudson River had to be placed
through the operator until probably in the 1940s era, when they could
then be dialed in either direction. However, a special access prefix
(11+) had to be used. By the later 1950s, the use of the area code
(201 for NJ from NY, 212 for NY from NJ) began to be dialed before the
seven-digit (two-letter five-digit) number when calling across the
Hudson River.

Anyhow, "full, complete, total" office code "protection" in adjacent
area codes was rare in both the US and Canada. And I think that the
last example (with the exception of the Government of Canada's
613/819-NXX centrex office codes) will disappear later this year.

And "code protection" to allow LOCAL AREA seven-digit dialing across a
state/NPA boundary, while "frowned upon" by the telco industry and the
federal regulators (FCC, CRTC), is still being practiced, mostly in
small towns and rural areas, to allow seven-digit cross-boundary local
dialing. I think that the state regulatory agencies are the ones that
mandate such code protection to facilitate seven-digit cross-boundary
local dialing. But this "code protection" only applies to protecting
the code from being assigned in the opposite state/NPA only in the
local calling area scope, not against being assigned "anywhere and
everywhere else" in the opposite/adjacent state(s)/NPA(s). HOWEVER, if
there is an overlay in any of those adjacent area codes, then
ten-digit local dialing is required not only within the overlay area,
but also for all local calls from the overlaid area, as well as *to*
the overlaid area even from local non-overlaid adjacent area codes!

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You are correct there. In the 312/219
(IL/IN) case, by the time one traveled east as far as around Gary, IN
the prefixes were being repeated on the Illinois side again. And
if you got much further south than Dyer, IN or Crown Point, IN they
were back to 'usual' again also. There was always an odd historical
quirk about how that far northest part of Indiana came to be
considered 'Illinois Bell' rather than the more logical (regards loca-
tion) 'Indiana Bell'. It went back to the pre-Illinois Bell days of
the Chicago Telephone Company. All the big shot executives, the Gary's
of US Steel fame, the Rockefeller's of Standard Oil, etc had their
offices in _Chicago_ but their industrial complexes (Whiting Refinery,
Sinclair Oil, US Steel, Inland Steel, etc) along the lake front on the
Indiana side. Time line, 1880-1890 phones coming in vogue _in bigger
cities_ but still sort of rare in small areas, but in that time of the
industrial age, the refineries, steel mills, etc were going full blast.
Mssrs. Rockefeller, Gary and the other guys wanted quick, easy ways to
stay in touch with their foremen and superintendents. Chicago Telephone
Company could not quite justify the cost of line expansion 'that far
away from the city itself'. A consortium of the business leaders (who
had plants, mills, etc in the Hammond/Whiting/East Chicago/Gary, IN
region subsidized the earliest of the phone lines going in that
direction and Chicago Telephone Company was glad to accomodate them
under those circumstances. Chicago Tel later became Illinois Bell, a
_Chicago based_ company. Sometime in the 1970's Illinois Bell decided
to balance things up according to state lines and geography a little,
and traded that territory off to 'Indiana Bell' a few years prior to
divestiture. PAT]

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