FCC proposes nationwide One Call number

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed rule to simplify the nation’s One Call notification system for excavation.

The FCC proposed the rule after a study by the North American Numbering Council analyzed the current One Call notification system and found it too complicated and inefficient. There are currently 70 nationwide One Call centers that serve different geographic areas and have different phone numbers. In its report, the council suggested that to make the system easier to use, a nationwide toll-free abbreviated dialing code should be implemented using an N11 code, specifically 811.

In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC seeks comments on the NANC recommendation. FCC tentatively concludes in the notice that an abbreviated three-digit dialing code could render 8 million telephone numbers unusable if the code is the same as an existing area code. If an abbreviated number is adopted, it will become nationwide sometime in the next three years.

To send FCC your thoughts about the use of an abbreviated dialing code, click on the link to the right. Comments will be filed electronically until July 8, and reply comments can be sent until July 23.

The current One Call system was designed to allow construction workers and the general public to notify utility companies before digging occurs. The program helps prevents disruption in underground power and phone lines and can thwart major outages to the country’s power supply, communication networks, hospitals, law enforcement agencies and emergency response providers.