It appears that U.K. regulator Ofcom has a solution to the recently-reported shortage of new phone numbers in the region, and it is a measure that U.S. customers will recognize. Ofcom has proposed that landline customers in markets where phone number reserves are especially shallow be required to dial area codes for local calls.
That is something they don't have to do now, and which would allow more new phone numbers starting with 0 or 1 to be assigned. That idea is reminiscent of one of the initial changes U.S. phone companies began making more than 20 years ago under the North American Numbering Plan when numbers began running out in many U.S. markets. The U.K. number shortage has been projected in recent years to become worse, and other nations, such as Canada are beginning to have the same problem.
A final decision has not yet been made, but after a comment period, Ofcom expects to issue a ruling on the matter this fall. Ofcom would then implement a new system for allocating new phone numbers in the neediest markets by October 2014. The U.K. markets where the number shortage has hit especially hard include Aberdeen, Bradford, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Milton Keynes.
- see this Telegeography post
Ofcom has taken a hard line against service contract termination fees
Ofcom recently said it would look into a dispute between BT and BSkyB