News Release

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB

DATE: February 14, 2000

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108

 

JACOB LEADS FIGHT TO CRACK THE AREA CODE CRISIS
Local leaders join with angry florist to call for action plan to stop any future area code splits in San Diego County

Rancho San Diego, CA - Chairwoman Dianne Jacob today called for aggressive action to immediately stop any future area code splits in San Diego County.

"The Federal Communication Commission has had a strangle-hold on state and local authorities for far too long. The FCC needs to change the rules and expand options to stop unnecessary future area code splits," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "There are approximately 7.8 million numbers for each area code. That means that today, there are 23.4 million numbers and about 2.7 million people living in this region - that's 8.7 numbers for every man, woman and child! Today we are stepping up to the plate to put a halt on this unnecessary imposition on this region's consumers," she added.

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 this region, there are two additional area codes slated for implementation this year; 935 in east county and south bay, and 442 in the north coastal region. It is anticipated that the State's current 25 area codes will soon leap to 41 by the end of 2002.

"Lost in the debate over the imposition of the controversial new 858 area code is the fact that there are millions of unused telephone numbers that could alleviate the need for new area codes," said Jacob. "According to the North County Times, there are as many as 145 million unused phone numbers within existing area codes in this state. Overlays are not a solution - they are only adding to the problem by forcing all consumers to dial 11 digits. This is cumbersome and unnecessary. It is time to stop punishing the consumer!" she added.

Jacob was joined today by Arlis Spielman, owner of Flowers & Gifts by Arlis, who spoke of the damage done to local businesses because of area code changes. "A lot of businesses have lost customers because of the 858 area code split. I will face these same problems if 935 comes to east county," said Spielman. "Our nationwide wire services - such as FTD, Teleflor, and AFS - update their telephone books only every three months and they need six months notice. I will lose three months of business because of an area code split."

Also present was Barry Jantz, Councilman from La Mesa.

Last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Jacob's proposal to join with other local governments and the PUC to work with our State and Federal legislators to do three things: Require the FCC to grant waivers to allow for technology specific area codes for devices such as cell phones and pagers; shorten the deadline requiring the availability of local number portability which would allow wireless users to transport their numbers to new providers without changing their phone numbers; and call for immediate release the unused phone numbers.