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The information society we live in today can be convenient, but overwhelming and prohibitively expensive for many consumers. We are now electronically linked to the world and that offers great opportunities as well as serious drawbacks. Consumer interests must be defended to ensure fair access to phone, internet, cable, wireless, and satellite communications. Safeguards to protect our privacy and financial transactions need to be enhanced. Standards for diverse ownership and independence will help foster fair, accurate and diverse media content. If you would like information about the Do Not Call list, or need assistance with a telecommunications issue, please visit the Services for You section of the website.

Parma Area Code: Thinking Globally by Acting Locally

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Parma Area Code: Thinking Globally by Acting Locally

When Ameritech announced that it would split Parma into two area codes, Congressman Kucinich became very concerned about the impact of this decision on small businesses in Parma and the safety of senior citizens. He worked with Parma Mayor Gerald Boldt, the Parma City Council and others to make the city’s case to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and state agencies, leading to a special investigation by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). The Congressman also introduced federal legislation to protect small and medium-sized cities from being split into two or more area codes.

Congressman Kucinich discovered that the PUCO did not know what percentage of telephone numbers in area code 216 were in fact in use. Experts nationally estimate that fewer than 20 percent of available telephone numbers in a given area code are in fact in use. The rest are wasted. He further discovered that without specific authority from the Federal Communications Commission, PUCO was unable to impose methods of leading to greater number allocation efficiency, such as 1,000 number block pooling.

Congressman Kucinich pursued obtaining the necessary authority for the PUCO. In July 1999, he introduced a bill, HR 2439, that would force the FCC to delegate the necessary authority to state commissions. Specifically, his bill directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), by December 31, 2000, to develop and implement a plan for the efficient allocation of telephone numbers. Until it has fully implemented such plan and at the request of a State commission, his bill directed the FCC to delegate to state commissions all necessary authority to implement measures to conserve telephone numbers. The bill succeeded in starting discussion in Congress about area code proliferation, though the bill was not reported out of Committee.

In August 1999, Congressman Kucinich and Congressman Charles Bass (R-NH) offered an amendment to accomplish the same objective. Their legislative maneuver forced the House of Representatives to debate area code proliferation and number conservation for the first time. Their amendment was supported by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and state commissions, including Ohio. Though not adopted, this amendment stimulated still more discussion in Congress and focused attention on the FCC.

On August 10, 1999 Rep. Ed Markey, ranking Democrat on the subcommittee overseeing telecommunications commerce, and Congressman Kucinich wrote to FCC Chairman Kennard to prod the FCC to "move forward with all deliberate speed" to implement number conservation methods and to "respond rapidly to situations in particular States that are currently being forced to implement new area code adjustments."

On August 20, 1999, Congressman Kucinich organized members of the California Congressional delegation to write to their public utilities commission to ask that it "temporarily delay implementation of the 424 area code [overlay]" in order to compel the FCC to delegate to California the necessary authority to implement a better alternative, namely conservation. Indeed, the California Public Utilities Commission did in fact delay the overlay. California was awarded the necessary authority shortly thereafter.

After PUCO petitioned the FCC for the necessary authority to implement number conservation efforts, the Congressman again supported the PUCO and furthered the cause of obtaining state authority to implement number conservation. On October 12, 1999, Congressman Kucinich wrote to FCC Chairman William Kennard to insist that, given his two-year involvement in area code regulation, it was unacceptable that the FCC would not act immediately to grant the PUCO the necessary authority. Congressman Kucinich wrote, "the State of Ohio still does not have the requisite authority to prevent more unnecessary area code splits. This is unacceptable. I want a clear explanation of why the FCC has dragged its feet with respect to the state of Ohio, and what the FCC intends to do to empower the state of Ohio to prevent area code splits through number conservation methods." On November 30, 1999, the FCC decided to award PUCO with the necessary authority to prevent a split or overlay of area code 440.


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