A review of data from the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), the FCC-designated national telephone number allocation organization, shows that some telephone companies have been obtaining large allocations of telephone numbers for tiny rural localities in the 315 region - areas that already have a surplus of unused lines and which appear to have no need for more.
In Alexandria Bay, for example, five competing carriers assigned five exchanges and 50,000 numbers to the population of 4,097. Harrisville, with a population of 653, had four exchanges from four different carriers and 40,000 available numbers.Group Challenges Area-code Changes - Public Utility Law Project Petition Asks PSC to Probe Whether 315 Really Is Running out of Numbers, Watertown Daily Times, March 26, 2008.
Under FCC and PSC rules, blocks of new numbers are to be used 1,000 at a time in the locality for which they are obtained, and new three-digit exchange codes containing 10,000 numbers each should not be opened until existing ones are at least 75% used.
On March 14, 2008, PULP made a motion to the PSC to conduct a thorough investigation of the reasons for the apparent number shortage, which may be due to the unlawful or mistaken opening of more three-digit exchanges than necessary.
The PSC has the power to reclaim any unused, hoarded, or possibly improperly allocated numbers. Perhaps the cost and inconvenience of new area codes and number changes can be avoided if the PSC finds that more numbers are actually available or can be reclaimed.