In a Telecom decision handed down today, the CRTC has announced that Northern Ontario will be getting a new area in 2011.

The new area codes is in response to the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA) reports to the CRTC in March of this year that had warned that the region was expected to run out of 705 telephone numbers by October 2012.

The new area code, 249, is required to satisfy the increased demand for new telephone numbers which is driven by the increased use of cell phones, wireless data services, the Internet and IP telephony among consumers and businesses alike.

The federal regulator says today’s decision will provide sufficient time for telephone companies to prepare and to effectively inform their customers of these changes.

The transition to 10-digit dialing in the region will begin on January 15, 2011, and will be gradually introduced over the following weeks. It will become mandatory by March 12, 2011.

New area code 249 numbers will begin being handed out on March 19, 2011. Existing customers will keep their current area code and phone numbers.

Elsewhere in Canada, other new area codes have been introduced in the last ten years including, the 647 Area Code in Toronto in 2000, the 438 code in Montréal in November 2006, 581 in the portion of Québec served by the 418 code in June 2008, 587 in Alberta in September 2008.

Next year residents within area code 613 in Eastern Ontario and residents within area code 450 surrounding Montreal will be getting new area codes in 2010. Area code 343 will be introduced in Eastern Ontario in May of next year while Area Code 579 will be introduced in the area around Montreal in August 2010.

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