UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom has announced a proposal that could change the way people dial landline numbers. Ofcom's proposal is an effort to free up new phone numbers where supplies are running low. Right now, people making local calls don't need to bother with an area code when dialing a number. However, this means that Ofcom can't allocate local numbers beginning with a zero or a one. This new change, affecting residents in five areas, would see folks having to dial the area code when dialing a local number.
"The number of communications providers has increased significantly over the last ten years, leading to more competition and cheaper landline bills for millions of homes and businesses. But it has also led to increased pressure on the supply of new phone numbers," said Ofcom in a statement. "Requiring landline callers to use the code locally is intended to safeguard the future supply of new landline numbers and avoid the need for more disruptive measures, such as changing existing phone numbers."
Ofcom is launching a consultation on the proposal and hopes to implement the change on October 1, 2014. The watch dog says Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (01202) have been operating off of the new system since last November without issue.