Phone Service Embargo in the U.S.

Telecommunications industry sources now say an unthinkable embargo on new toll free phone service in the United States is a real possibility within the next year. Facing a severe shortage of available 800-numbers, a skyrocketing demand for toll free service and an emerging black market for 800 numbers, insiders say officials feel they are left with no choice but to impose an embargo.

Recent reports have referred to the situation as the ‘the perfect storm” meaning the shortage of numbers, the soaring demand, and the failure of the federal government to release reserved numbers have all collided to create a situation in which rationing, an embargo or even a complete depletion of 800 numbers is possible.

More than two-thirds of the available supply of 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers are taken and millions of new subscribers are registering every year. Business owners who wait much longer to obtain a number might find themselves out of luck. In a competitive market, a toll free number is a valuable commodity for every business.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a stockpile of new 855 numbers reserved to address the shortage but these numbers are not expected to be released anytime soon. With available 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers at all all-time low, insiders fear the numbers will run completely dry, hurting business and creating an out-of-control black market.

Experts say that consumers recognize that many of the advantages of 1-800 numbers outweigh standard local phone service. Toll free service is becoming increasingly common with parents wishing to keep in close contact with children and teens. Businesses with a 1-800 number can see almost instant increases in sales, word of mouth referrals, and a decrease in product returns and the FCC reports that toll free service is a “proven” marketing tool.

Industry insiders are recommending that anyone wishing to obtain a toll free number secure one immediately. There are an average of 8,000 new toll free numbers registered each day. With a limited number of numerical possibilities, the finite supply is nearly expended but numbers can safely and rapidly be obtained through providers such as AT&T, Verizon,  or Qwest.

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44 Responses

  1. Wisdom begins in wonder.

  2. how long will it take before the NSA starts using this, no more calling from phone booths, to hide your number

  3. They have to be clever, cunning, imaginative, dogged and wily, whereas society merely has to lean its weight a little.

  4. Winners never quit and quitters never win.

  5. I no longer have the fear of being alone. It’s cool to find out that you don’t need a boyfriend to be happy.

  6. I’m gonna have to say that the WRT54GL is the greatest router ever.

  7. It’s congress, their shortsightedness has been seen by Wall Street, so they’re biding it up, realizing that very soon there will be a huge shortage.

  8. Perhaps someone, out of desperation, comes up with a brilliant alternative that doesn’t muck up the phone system and the world we live in. Soon. I hope.

  9. I say we use all the world’s resources first, then we use ours last. Then we can charge 1000 a bbl.

  10. profit

  11. We’ll have to wean ourselves off toll-free numbers eventually, but I hope the process doesn’t get as painful as the article suggests.

  12. FW:FW:FW:RE: FW:FW: FW: DO ***NOT*** BUY 800 NUMBERS ON THE 1st

  13. Three main factors:

    1) Increased demand
    2) Decreased availability
    3) Falling dollar value (hint: inflation)

    An Unknown Impact Factor:

    1) Brokers

  14. It’s amazing how great capitalism is to us when it benefits us. Frankly, I believe we live and die by the sword. Does this suck for my wallet? You betcha. Have we clearly been receiving a commodity for a price that was way under market value for a long time? Looks like it. Price maximization is a goal of any business/industry – i really hate how society is against it in specific instances.

  15. Government intervention? Is anyone going to reign in BIG TELECOM?

  16. What the USA really needs is a president to step up and make a commitment like JFK did about putting a man on the moon, “not because it is easy, but because it is hard”. The moon race was in large part a political race against the then Soviet Union to prove who could dominate space. Now I think the USA needs to embark on a similar no-holds-barred program to completely wean itself from toll-free numbers, again not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. Ultimately this would also have huge political ramifications since it would drastically reduce, or altogether eliminate our dependence on 800 number availibility.

  17. lame

  18. He who has the gold makes the rules. He who has the 800 numbers sets the price.

  19. mission accomplished

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  24. […] February 9, 2010 · Leave a Comment More than two-thirds of the available supply of 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers are taken and millions of new subscribers are registering every year. Business owners who wait much longer to obtain a number might find themselves out of luck. In a competitive market, a toll free number is a valuable commodity for every business. Get the skinny here! […]

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