|Oftel Press Centre Press Release Archive 2000|
|Oftel CONSULTS ON ACCESS CODES|
Proposals to increase the number of access codes available for telephone services have been published by Oftel today.
New access codes are needed to meet the huge demand for codes from telecoms operators and telecoms services suppliers.
Access codes are three or four digit numbers that begin with a 1 that customers dial either to access a wide range of telephony services (such as 1471 to find out the telephone number of the last person who called you) or as a prefix to a phone number to access another operators telephone network.
Oftel is proposing that all future access codes should be five digit numbers, created by adding two extra digits to certain existing unused three digit codes.
David Edmonds, Director General of Telecommunications said today:
"Access codes are short numbers that are easy to remember and easy to use. But this means that there is a very limited supply.
"If implemented, these proposals would create nine hundred new five digit numbers and meet demand for the foreseeable future. Consumers would continue to benefit from greater competition in the market without the inconvenience of changing existing access codes.
In addition to increasing the supply of access codes, Oftel is also seeking views relating to broader policy issues, such as how access codes are allocated, with the objective of further developing its long term strategy.
Note to Editors
1 Oftels document Access codes: Options for the future is available from Oftel's website at http://www.oftel.gov.uk. Copies are also available to the media from Oftel Press Office on (020) 7634 8991 or to the public from Oftels Research and Intelligence Unit on (020) 7634 8761.
2 This document does not consider the specific issue of the use of short access codes for the provision of Directory Information and Services. This matter will be addressed as part of a future consultation document.