They’re at it again: telecom companies are lobbying for a new area code overlay – a slight change from their previous efforts to split the 310. Companies say the overlay wouldn’t occur “until it is triggered when number ‘exhaust can no longer be avoided.'”
Doesn’t take a lit major to appreciate that fun use of the passive voice.
Local electeds sent a letter urging public hearings before the 424 blankets 310 land. The Public Utilities Commission – the agency tasked with making the call on such things – is a particularly bothersome kind of bureaucratic beast. Don’t bet on it sticking up for those of us south of Imperial Highway.
Indeed, while carriers were careful to paint their proposal as beneficial to consumers, an excerpt in their filing that quotes the Federal Communications Commission makes clear who the carriers are really trying to aid — themselves.
“Unavailability of numbers, or an inefficient allocation of available numbers, could prevent or discourage consumers from taking new services,” the filing reads. “Thus, the timely implementation of area code relief is essential if new providers are to enter and new services are to appear in the telecommunications marketplace.”
But Knabe, Harman and Gordon counter that the current system for counting number inventories is “rife with inconsistency and manipulation, and provides inadequate consumer protections.”
“Consumers neither have confidence in what the carriers represent nor do they have adequate means to evaluate carrier representations,” the trio wrote. “Without an objective means of defining the inventories carriers may maintain and established guidelines for consistent inventory management, there can be no agreement on the ‘trigger’ itself.”
Having worked for state government, I know full well the power of big utilities (no pun intended). But it seems like this kind of crap could be legislated away, doesn’t it? They aren’t out of numbers – even with our massive population and the tribble-like propagation of cell phones.
And while it’s true that, for many, the cell phone is the primary (if not only) number – and with cell phones area codes and numbers generally are obsolete since we’re usually calling “Bob A.” and not “213-555-5555” – someday, we might have enough money to own a home here and actually want a landline.
And it’s a status thing. You know it is.
Save the 310!