HALLOWELL — The Public Utilities Commission now predicts that Maine’s 207 area code will be exhausted by the first quarter of 2027.

According to a press release issued Oct. 27, the commission has taken a number of steps to extend the 207 area code’s use for about 15 months beyond its previously predicted exhaustion date of fourth quarter 2025.

Among those actions, PUC chairman Philip L. Bartlett II said in the release, commission staff members have been “scrutinizing unnecessary requests for numbering resources.”

Other efforts to preserve the area code include:

  • Facilitating the donation of number resources by one provider to another, limiting the number of new blocks of 10,000 codes that are opened;
  • Working with service providers to return blocks of unused numbers in 1,000 number increments through docket No. 2020-00192;
  • Participating in a Numbering Administration Oversight Working Group appointed by the FCC to assist the North American Numbering Council with its oversight of the North American Numbering Plan administrator;
  • Commission-initiated investigations into numbering practices of T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Commission staff will continue to pursue options for further extending Maine’s single area code which could not only significantly extend the life but also serve as a model for other states facing similar area code exhaustion circumstances, Bartlett said in the release.

Background

In 2021, Maine PUC petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to direct the North American Numbering Plan administrator to report on the technical, operational and cost requirements to implement number optimization measures in the 207 area code. The FCC requested that an FCC working group on numbering report back by August 2022 regarding the feasibility of implementing new number conservation measures such as individual telephone numbering pooling proposed by Maine and other states. To date, Maine PUC efforts have resulted in the return of about 677,000 numbers to the numbering pool from unused or slightly used blocks.

The NANPA number exhaustion and prediction reports can be found at https://nationalnanpa.com/reports/reports_npa.html.