Maine regulators want to know if Verizon Wireless is unnecessarily tying up the dwindling pool of phone numbers in the 207 area code.
That comes as the latest forecast shows Maine’s iconic 207 area code could be completely exhausted by the end of 2024, leaving regulators no choice but to split the state into two area codes.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission opened its investigation into Verizon’s phone numbering practices on Tuesday. Commissioners want Verizon to provide them with details about available phone numbers, percent usage at its rate centers and an explanation for why the carrier’s forecasted growth is greater than historical rates.
“Maine’s 207 area code is dwindling rapidly, and while there may be a time when Maine has to accept a new area code, it would be a shame for one company’s practices to hasten that time if it has no actual need for the numbers,” the commission’s chair, Philip Bartlett, said Tuesday. “Based on data we have received, Verizon may be using unrealistic forecasting goals, unnecessarily tying up available phone numbers.”
The utilities commission has also asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to direct the North American numbering plan administrator to report on the technical, operational and financial requirements necessary to maintain Maine’s 207 area code.
The commission said it has worked with carriers to free more than 600,000 numbers for the 207 area code pool.