"Stop the Splits"

DATE: February 8, 2000
TO: Board of Supervisors
RE: "STOP THE SPLITS"

SUMMARY:
Today's action will ask the Board to join with other local governments and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to challenge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to change the rules and expand options to allow technology based area codes, local number portability for cell phones (wireless) and to immediately release the enormous stockpile of unused numbers within existing area codes. These actions will dramatically increase the availability of phone numbers preventing any more splits.

Recommendations: 
Chairwoman Dianne Jacob:

1) Adopt the attached resolution challenging the Federal Communication Commission to change the rules and expand the options to stop future area code splits in San Diego County.

2) Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to draft a letter for signature by the Chairwoman to local State and Federal legislative delegations communicating the Board of Supervisors' position and to the Mayors of each City in San Diego County urging them to adopt a similar resolution.

3) Direct the County's Sacramento and Washington lobbyists to communicate the Board's position to stop future area code splits and work with the local State and Federal legislators, and the CPUC to expand the options to allow technology based area codes, local number portability for cell phones and to immediately release the existing stockpile of unused phone numbers.

Fiscal Impact: 
This request will result in no additional costs or staff years.

BACKGROUND: 
The recent implementation of the 858 area code has heightened the region's awareness of the mass proliferation of area codes throughout the County and State. In San Diego, there are two additional area codes scheduled for implementation this year, 935 and 442. It is anticipated that the State's 25 current area codes will soon leap to 41 by the end of 2002. For this reason, it is important to join with other local governments and the CPUC to increase the options available and change the FCC rules.

The CPUC has filed a petition with the FCC for a waiver to implement technology specific area codes, such as wireless communications or paging services. Implementing technology specific area codes will permit residential and commercially assigned numbers to maintain their current area codes. Also, by implementing technology specific area codes, the CPUC can maintain current area codes for residential and commercial customers while implementing new area codes for new portable services such as cellular and pagers.

Local Number Portability for wireless services (cellular and pagers) would further increase the efficiency and utilization of numbers within current area codes. This would allow wireless users to transport their number to new providers without changing their phone number. The FCC recently extended the deadline to implement the necessary technology an additional two years. This deadline must be significantly shortened.

Finally, according to the North County Times, there is as many as 145 million unused phone numbers within existing area codes. As part of the Consumer Area Code Act of 1999, the State legislature has requested the CPUC to report back by July 01, 2001, as to where these numbers exist.

It is too much to ask residents and businesses to wait 18 months for area code relief. The information should be gathered and the numbers released immediately!

Working with other governments and the CPUC to challenge the FCC to change the rules and expand the options to allow technology based area codes, local number portability and immediately releasing the stockpile of unused numbers will dramatically increase the availability of phone numbers, stopping future area code splits in the County. I urge your support.

Respectfully Submitted,

DIANNE JACOB
Chairwoman

Resolution of the Board of Supervisors in Opposition of the implementation of new area codes within San Diego County Tuesday, February 8, 2000

On motion of Supervisor __________________________________, seconded by Supervisor __________________________________, the following resolution is adopted:

WHEREAS, the imposition of the controversial 858 area code has created a hardship on individuals and businesses alike; and

WHEREAS, there are two additional area codes scheduled for implementation in the County this summer, 935 and 442; and

WHEREAS, according to the CPUC, the State's current 25 area codes will leap to 41 by the end of 2002, and;

WHEREAS, according to the North County Times, there are as many as 145 million unused phone numbers within existing area codes in the state that could alleviate the immediate need for new area codes; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Communication Commission has maintained outdated practices and has had a strangle-hold on State and Local authorities for far too long punishing consumers; and

WHEREAS, options such as technology based area codes, local number portability for wireless services and the immediate release of the stockpile of unused numbers will dramatically increase the availability of phone numbers preventing any more area code splits; and

BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors join with other local governments and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to challenge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to change the rules and expand options to allow technology based area codes, local number portability for cell phones (wireless) and to urge the immediate release of the enormous stockpile of unused numbers within existing area codes.

FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors adamantly opposes the implementation of any new area codes within the San Diego County region.