What's Up with My Phone Bill?

Just in case anyone’s interested, here’s the link to the North American Numbering Plan (and yes, that even includes Canada, eh):
http://www.nanpa.com/ . These are the folks who carry the planned dialing changes, etc., to the local PUCs.

handy: Please, please, please – on behalf of the teeming millions, I’m begging you to call! I have to know what outrageous statements they’ll make. Bet they blame it on Al Gore. If they try to sell you anything, fire them and go with someone else. (I know exactly nothing about TTY, so if I seem to be suggesting a big-money equipment changeout for $1.52/month, please just accept my apology and ignore me.)

dougie_monty: I went to the site. The fonts were huge; a brilliant and obvious idea that I wouldn’t have thought of in a thousand years, so kudos to the designers.

In the long run, the Gray Panthers and other opponents of overlay are swimming against the tide here. There is “hoarding” of telco numbers for two reasons in addition to saving torq from sending his printer’s kids to Europe for the summer. The first (better) reason is that competitive telephone companies need to have large blocks of consecutive numbers if they hope to sign large business accounts, a necessary precursor to bring competition (and lower prices) to smaller businesses and consumers

The second reason is to provide room for business growth. Downtown business districts, in particular, are fighting to keep businesses from migrating to suburbs or even other states. If your favorite large company is considering expanding, dangling consecutive direct dial numbers in front of them is attractive. If the business can’t retain consecutive numbers, or even a common area code, they might as well open up the expansion elsewhere. It’s not the biggest consideration, but it matters.

The combination of these reasons with the exploding number of numbers add up to the fact that even if there is never overlay, area codes will get geographically so small that most people will have to dial ten digits for most calls anyway. You already see this in L.A. and Chicago.

BTW, the math on the still-available numbers is wrong because the way trunk lines work, but I’m not at work now. I’ll repost if anybody seems to care.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Don’t lay the blame for all this area code messon the printing industry,it is just as much an expenseon us as not only must we change all our letterheads,ad’s,etc plus the cost of reprinting for free or reduced price mistakes not caught by us or the customer.
The blame is on the phone companey for assuming that on a nine digit number would suffice for a large geographic area.

t lion

Too bad you guys don’t live in simple ol’ Bumfuck, MO. Here we pay $12 a month for a no -frills line for a direct connection to a local ISP (at $15 a month unlimited) plus $30 a month for KC calling (basically, everywhere within 200 miles, no extra charges or anything, plus, no area codes to be dialed. Ahh, life is good.


We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.

I am showing a printout of this thread to some Gray Panthers I know–including a retired librarian who is 81 and sharp as a sword!!
I’m referring to my posting in this thread from September 25–a reply to Torq’s posting of the day before. That is why I suggested I might be talking to someone in a Legal Department. That was a very flippant and grossly insulting remark, Torq. Be prepared to retract it.

I work for GTE, so I can answer almost any question in this.

1.local number portablility>> the fcc in it’s infinite wisdom decided that companies and residents should be able to carry their number no matter where they move. so within the next year,if you’re in california and you move to new york, you can keep the same number, so as you can guess, area codes will not give any location as to area. so how are you gonna know if it’s long distance? who knows, they haven’t explained that to us yet. the fcc also says we have to provide that service, so we have to build extra equipment. we pass along to cust’s because we are a business, simple economics.

if you really want to know why bills are so high

  1. they haven’t inflated near as much as cars or gas, or almost anything.

  2. at my call center, when you add the cost of salaries+rent for center + electrity + comp’s— divided by the number of calls we get = about $5 per call. so everytime some old lady calls and says she didn’t make that .08 call to her granddaughter, it cost us $5.

but don’t get wrong, i’m not saying trust your utilities company. watch them like a hawk, but remember your elected officials voted for deregulation.

and please don’t kill the messenger, i’m here to help


You should really throw some little winky emoticons on your post. It almost sounds as though you are serious.

(In case you are serious, Torq’s comment was certainly flippant, but “The Gray Panthers are hoping they’ll be dead before. . . .” does not constitute a wish on his part that they were dead. It is a smart aleck remaek that they are hoping that they will not be around to deal with the issue. I suspect that your 81-year-old swordsmistress will laugh at this. (My 84-year-old Mom certainly would.))


I’m afraid that you may have been fed a line about number portability, metroshane. Local number portability currently applies to a same-location change of local service providers, and is expected eventually only to apply within the maximum geographic area of an area code.

So right now, local number portability applies only if a telco customer stays where s/he is and changes local phone providers. If the customer moves, even across the street, the number can go away (with certain exceptions which are still being arbitrated and will almost certainly eventually be litigated).

Down the road, the idea (still unrealized) is that once assigned, a customer will “own” the number within a geography.

That is to say, if you live in an overlay city, you will be able to take your 312 (example) area code and your seven-digit number with you when you move anywhere within the total geographic region of 312, notwithstanding the fact that “new” numbers get a different area code. When you move outside the area, say to California, you lose your number.

The rules for wireless telephones are slightly different, and that may explain how the process was mis-explained to you.

Here’s a link to a Jan ’99 FCC fact sheet on the issue. But it mostly has to do with the new charge that the LECs are assessing.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

To Tomndebb: I have just printed this thread, including your posting of October 15. Well, we shall see what reaction it gets–and you can be sure I will let you know what her comments are. God knows I don’t have her sophistication, nor to I ever try to rile her.

Update, October 16: I attended the Gray Panthers meeting and read a few excerpts–of my own posting and one of Torq’s replies–into the minutes. Well, as I said, we shall see if this causes repercussions!

You do that, I bet “Cecil’s legal counsel” haven’t had a good laugh in a week or two.

Just what is your point here? Are you threatening our board members? Cecil? Who the hell do you think you are?

your humble TubaDiva/SDStaffDiv
for the Straight Dope
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

With a host of furious fancies
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear, and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wide world’s end.
Methinks it is no journey.
Tom o’ Bedlam

oops - I really live up to my name, the above post was meant for the “quotes” thread. Apologies. I emailed the moderator to please remove it - slinking away now…

Oh, I dunno, it’s kinda appropriate, considering. :slight_smile:

your humble TubaDiva
who never forgets we’re all a keystroke away from disaster, each and every one of us.

manhattan------ thanks for the clarification. i agree that that is the short term plan. sorry if i confused anyone.

To Tuba Diva and all others concerned: Forgive me if I sounded grossly impertient. I was quite angry at any suggestion that any of the Teeming Milliuons hoped the Gray Panthers, or anyone else, would be dead!
Just the same, I wish Torq would have chosen his words with a little more discretion.
Update: I read some of this thread into the minutes of a local Gray Panthers meeting in Torrance, CA. At least two of the people there have their own access to the Internet and I gave one of them the printout of this threrad. They may be less vociferously defensive about it than I was; all the same they may log onto this thread with comments of their own. Just to keep you all apprised.

Don’t worry about it, metroshane. This issue is going to get a lot more complicated before it starts to get simpler, at least for consumers and for service providers.

I’m just glad that I don’t work in the switch programming dept. of a phone company, let alone a call center trying to explain it all!

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine


I’m afraid that you may have been fed a line about number portability, metroshane. Local number portability currently applies to a same-location change of local service providers, and is expected eventually only to apply within the maximum geographic area of an area code

as you can guess, I was somewhat amazed that my 32hrs of direct training and interaction with the public utilities/FCC was debunked with one quick link from a member with a fast finger.

so i took this issue to the GTE Director that works directly with the FCC and asked him about it. he said that i’m right and the confusion seems to be a matter of semantics with the FCC homepage. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds illogical to us to, but per the agreement, gte understands it to mean you can keep your same phone number, no matter where you move (not quite effective yet). and that is what you’re paying for. He is, because of this confusion, contacting the fcc to find out how this should be worded correctly so everyone understands it.
he has not yet contacted me about the meeting, but i will update you asap.

but the overall agreement is that, in the near future, you will have the ability to keep your same number if you move from cali to ny. we think the confusion is stemming from the fcc’s liberal use of the terms ‘service provider portability’ and ‘local number port’, which are different, but used somewhat interchangeably in the factsheet without explanation.

please bare in mind that he doens’t know i’m providing dopers with this info, and i’m not speaking directly on gte’s behalf

The same way a 10 cents a min call to one country becomes a $1 a min to another even tho they are right next to one another! Needless to say my $600 phone bill for one day’s calls was quite a surprise. I could have flown there for that kinda money!

in the infamous words of your partner in crime… ChadCrackWhore… you should have taken the flight… the real sex would have been better than the phone sex… and we would have had more goats in our village. Nice to see you my friend!!!

We are, each of us angels with only one wing;
and we can only fly by
embracing one another