Area codes 819 and 873

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Area codes 819 and 873 are area codes for central and western Quebec, Canada, including the Quebec portion of the National Capital Region, and the entire Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay coastlines of Quebec. Major cities in the 819 territory include Gatineau, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières.

The incumbent local exchange carriers in 819/873 are Bell Canada, Telus, as well as Télébec and other independent companies. From 1992 to 1997, Northwestel was also an incumbent carrier in 819 as it included former Bell Canada points in the Northwest Territories.

History[edit]

Sherbrooke, Québec

Originally, Quebec was divided between two area codes. 514 originally covered the entire western half of Quebec from the US border to Hudson Strait, while 418 served the eastern half. In a 1957 flash cut, the 514 area was split into three segments - the southernmost (including Montreal) remained 514, the middle became 819, and the northern part, which had no telephone services, was added to 418. 819 thus bordered 613 and the new 705 codes in Ontario and 418 on the east and north, and the remainder of 514 on the south.

When telephone service was introduced in the eastern Northwest Territories (most of this is now Nunavut Territory created in 1999), at Frobisher Bay in 1958, Bell Canada made it nominally part of Area code 418. Through the 1960s and 1970s, telephone service was introduced, by Bell Canada at other locations in the eastern Northwest Territories and in locations along the Quebec Arctic coastline, as well as by Sotel, an independent company, in the James Bay region. These non-diallable locations also became part of 418.

Late in the 1970s, the northern portions of 418 served by Sotel and Bell along James, Hudson and Ungava Bays and Hudson Strait, as well as the eastern Northwest Territories, were assigned to 819 as exchanges in that area began to receive direct distance dialling. Thus 819 now also bordered Area code 709 of Newfoundland in the Torngat Mountain area, and Area code 403 where Bell Canada and Northwestel service areas met, as well as 204 (Manitoba) and 807 (northwestern Ontario). Also, from the late 1970s until 1997, 819 extended one-eighth of the way around the world, from the 45th parallel north at Stanstead, Quebec to the North Pole by including much of the Northwest Territories along with most of western Quebec. (Northwestel used area code 403 for its services in Yukon and the Northwest Territories, but since 1999, 403 only serves southern Alberta including Calgary.)

In 1997-98, the portions of 819 in the Northwest Territories, plus the portions of 403 in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, were transferred to Area code 867, a newly created code to unite all northern territories (including Nunavut created in 1999). Thus, borders on 403, 204 and 807 were replaced with the single border on 867. Area code 514 was split, changing 819's boundary on 514 to a boundary with Area code 450.

Until 2006, it was possible to make calls between Ottawa and Hull with only seven digits, since Ottawa and Hull shared the same calling area. An "exchange protection" scheme prevented the same seven digit local number from being assigned in both Ottawa and Hull. This code protection was implemented in such a manner that, if an exchange in +1-819-77x (1-819-PRovince) was in use in Hull, the corresponding +1-613-77x exchange could not be used anywhere in Eastern Ontario, right out to Brighton. Conversely, if an exchange in +1-613-23x was being used in Ottawa, the corresponding +1-819-23x exchange was unavailable anywhere in western Quebec, even in distant points on the far side of the 819 region such as Mauricie and Estrie.

Federal government offices in Hull duplicated their entire allocation of multiple exchanges worth of numbers available in 613 as part of a "dual dialability" scheme.

Combined with Canada's inefficient system of number allocation (individual rate centres are created for every tiny hamlet, with multiple CLEC's issued 10000-number blocks in each), these factors resulted in 819 being exhausted by 2006. The available remaining central office codes couldn't be used for Hull exchanges without breaking seven-digit dialling between Ottawa and Hull — an outcome which could have been avoided had the +1-819 versions of the huge number of seven-digit Ottawa 613 numbers been assigned to Sherbrooke or James Bay years earlier instead of being made unavailable to anyone.

Ten-digit dialling was made mandatory in both 819 and 613 on October 21, 2006, and exchange protection was largely ended. Seven-digit local calls in centres far from the area code boundary (such as Trois-Rivières or Belleville, with no local calling into any other area code at the time) were failing with intercept messages demanding to "dial the area code".

The only legacy of the old system is the "dual dialability" scheme for federal government offices on the Quebec side of the National Capital Region.

In 2002, Hull was merged into the "megacity" of Gatineau. The telephone exchange names and boundaries were not changed; the city centre exchange (serving Hull and Pointe-Gatineau) is still named "Ottawa-Hull" and the named "Gatineau" exchange is that former suburb only.[1] The Gatineau and Aylmer exchanges (now both within the newly-amalgamated municipality) remained long-distance to each other until a 16 August 2007 expansion of their local calling area, five years later.[2]

Originally to be introduced in 2015, on July 20, 2011, the CRTC moved up the introduction of the new 873 area code to September 15, 2012 after a report stated that the current 819 area code would be exhausted by then.[3] There is still no number pooling in Canada and redundant telephone exchange rate centres are not being merged when the underlying municipalities are amalgamated; the inefficient allocation of 10000-number blocks to multiple carriers in each of multiple rate centres in (often) the same municipality continues unabated.

Places that use this area code[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hull and Gatineau on localcallingguide.com; "Gatineau" is still a former suburb ("secteur") with a far more restrictive calling area, particularly into Ontario.
  2. ^ "Communities abandoned by CRTC, says commissioner". IT World Canada. 
  3. ^ "New area code assigned to Quebec". CBC.ca. July 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-20. 

External links[edit]

Quebec area codes: 418, 438, 450, 514, 579, 581, 819
North: 867
West: 705/249 Area codes 819/873 East: 418/581, 709
South: 207, 450/579, 613/343, 603, 802
Ontario area codes: 226, 249, 289, 343, 365, 416, 519, 613, 647, 705, 807, 905
Newfoundland and Labrador area codes: 709
Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut area codes: 867
New Hampshire area codes: 603
Vermont area codes: 802
Maine area codes: 207

Coordinates: 52°23′02″N 74°50′46″W / 52.384°N 74.846°W / 52.384; -74.846