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Area Codes
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The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) is a telephone numbering plan that encompasses 25 distinct regions in twenty countries primarily in North America, including the Caribbean and the U.S. territories. Not all North American countries participate in the NANP. Each participating country forms a regulatory authority that has plenary control over local numbering resources.

The NANP was originally devised in the 1940’s by AT&T for the Bell System to unify the diverse local numbering plans that had been established in the preceding decades. Since shortly after the breakup of the Bell System, the numbering plan has been administered by the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), a service that is procured from the private sector by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. The FCC also serves as the U.S. regulator. Canadian numbering decisions are made by the Canadian Numbering Administration Consortium.

The NANP divides the territories of its members into numbering plan areas (NPAs) which are encoded numerically with a three-digit telephone number prefix, commonly called the area code. Each telephone is assigned a seven-digit telephone number unique only within its respective plan area consisting of a three-digit central office code (prefix/exchange) and a four-digit station (suffix) number. (Wikipedia, 2015)

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