AllAreaCodes.com has designed this section of our site to explain what an area code is why they are used. If you have a burning desire to learn about Area Codes, you will satisfy your needs with our list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers below.
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Q. What is the North American Numbering Plan?
A. The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) is the numbering plan used for the Public Switched Telephone Network in the United States and other territories. The NANP was introduced in 1947 by AT&T and Bell Laboratories. It conforms to the international standard for numbering plans.
Q. What areas in North America are covered using the NANP numbering system?
A. The United States and its territories, Canada, Bermuda, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos are all covered under the NANP.
Q. What is the NANP's numbering system?
A. The NANP numbers are ten digits in length, and in the format NXX-NXX-XXXX. N can be any 2-9 digit and X can be any digit 0-9. The first three digits are called the numbering plan area (NPA) code. Hence the area code is born. The second three digits are called the central office code or prefix. And the final four digits are called the line number.
Q. Why do new area codes (NPA's) get introduced?
A. New area codes are introduced when numbers in an existing area code will be exhausted. In this situation, there can be an area code split or an area code overlay.
Q. How many area codes are there?
A. There are 800 possible combinations associated with the area codes. See the numerical list of area codes that are used today. But, some of these combinations are not available to be introduced. These include: Easily recognizable codes (the 2nd and 3rd digits are the same, such as 233), N11 (such as 211, 311, 411, etc.), N9X (such as 392, etc.), 37X (such as 374, etc.), and 96X (such as 965). These codes are either used as service codes or reserved for unanticipated purposes.