July 31, 2020

Senator Hassan Leads NH Congressional Delegation in Calling on FCC to Help Preserve Iconic 603 Area Code

NH Delegation: ‘603 represents a connection to the values of our state and a way to show local pride’

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action to help prevent the depletion of New Hampshire’s iconic 603 area code.

 

“For individuals living in New Hampshire and for expat Granite Staters, 603 represents a connection to the values of our state and a way to show local pride. Many businesses have even trademarked 603 as part of their name,” wrote the Congressional Delegation.

 

Currently, a service area covering a small New Hampshire town might be assigned several thousand phone numbers with the 603 area code even if the area only needs a smaller set of numbers. If those numbers are not assigned to a user, they go unused even if other areas have run out of 603 numbers.

 

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission filed a petition so that numbers could be distributed individually or in groups smaller than 1,000 in order to reduce the number of unused numbers. The Congressional Delegation is urging the FCC to grant this request.

 

“Because of the importance of 603 to New Hampshire’s economy and cultural identity, we strongly support NHPUC’s request for additional authorities to conserve 603 prefixes in order to make them available for more Granite Staters,” wrote the Congressional Delegation.

 

Read the Congressional Delegation’s letter here or below.

 

Dear Chairman Pai:

 

We write today regarding the April 26, 2019 petition from the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) seeking permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take measures to prevent the depletion of the iconic 603 area code prefix. Specifically, NHPUC requests additional authority to implement individual telephone number (ITN) pooling in New Hampshire, which would help more efficiently assign and better conserve numbers with the 603 prefix for years to come.

 

For individuals living in New Hampshire and for expat Granite Staters, 603 represents a connection to the values of our state and a way to show local pride. Many businesses have even trademarked 603 as part of their name.

 

To ensure the availability of 603 telephone numbers for future use, NHPUC seeks to test the implementation of ITN pooling to more efficiently use and assign telephone numbers. NHPUC’s request in its petition to the FCC is not without precedent; the FCC has used pilot programs in the past to test a variety of initiatives, including rural health care, telehealth, and broadband mapping.

 

Because of the importance of 603 to New Hampshire’s economy and cultural identity, we strongly support NHPUC’s request for additional authorities to conserve 603 prefixes in order to make them available for more Granite Staters. We urge the FCC to fully and fairly consider the NHPUC petition and to respond in a timely manner.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

 

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