FCC Announces Birth of Two More Toll Free Numbers to Help with Boom

Back in 1967, AT&T rolled out the original 800 toll-free exchange. It was good enough to meet demand from consumers and businesses — each area code contains nearly 8 million valid numbers — for nearly three decades. Times sure have changed.

This past Saturday, the Federal Communications Commission ordered a fourth toll-free exchange (866) into service, only a couple of years after the introduction of the third toll-free number (877). The second toll-free exchange (888) was inaugurated in 1996. The tremendous explosion in electronic commerce and the proliferation of dot-coms will make a fifth exchange (855) necessary this November, officials say.

Toll-free usage has steadily climbed since…