The Death of Local Dialling

Posted by Voipfone on November 5, 2014

So – most opening statements begin with ‘So’ these days so I thought I’d try it for myself. So, anyway, on the 1st October this year Ofcom abolished local dialling in my area. I don’t think it was personal but it has turned out to be damned inconvenient.

So, for the benefit of those that have no clue what local dialling is – that’ll be pretty much everyone – it’s being able to dial just the last 6 digits of the normal 11 digit telephone number if you live in the same area as the number you’re dialling. So in my case, if I wanted to dial my local pizza takeaway in Brighton – whose number is 01273 234567 – I could drop the Brighton area code, 01273, and just ring the last digits 234567. But, alas, no longer.

The reason for this is that Brighton – and Aberdeen (01224), Bradford (01274), Middlesbrough (01642), Milton Keynes (01908) – have almost run out of numbers and removing the ability to dial without the area code creates almost 2 million more. This is because the numbers 0 and 1 can then be used in the local number i.e. 01273 023456. Before, if a zero was in the number and it was dialled without the full area code, the local exchange thought that a national call was about to be made and shuffled it’s electrons accordingly. If a 1 was dialled the exchange expected a call to a BT service like 100, 155 or a clever telephone service like 1471.

So now if I dial just a local number I get an announcement asking me politely to hang up and dial the full number. This is nothing new of course, mobile users have had to dial the full number for all calls since their inception and it’s no great hardship as most of the numbers people dial are in their mobile’s address book, just a couple of clicks away. But all the local numbers in my antique landline DECT phone don’t have 01273 in front of them and it catches me out every time. Such is progress.

Things are different with VoIP and Voipfone of course; because a VoIP telephone number can be attached to a telephone anywhere at all in the entire world, the concept of local numbering is now an anachronism. So when dialling from Voipfone we’ve always required the full code – just like a mobile.

Clever people though, can configure their telephone to insert their local code automatically if they like because VoIP phones are clever like that.

So, that’s all good then.

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