Area code 250

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Area code 250 is an area code which serves the Canadian province of British Columbia outside the Lower Mainland, including Vancouver Island and the province's Interior. It was created on October 19, 1996, as a split of area code 604, which was retained by the Lower Mainland.[1]

The area code also serves the United States community of Hyder, Alaska, which sits along the border near the town of Stewart.

The incumbent local exchange carriers are Telus, Northwestel and CityWest in the city of Prince Rupert.

By the mid-2000s, 250 was already on the verge of exhaustion, due primarily to Canada's inefficient system of number allocation. Canada does not use number pooling as a relief measure; each carrier is allocated blocks of 10,000 numbers in each rate centre where it plans to offer service, even in the smallest hamlets. While most regions do not need that many phone numbers, once a prefix is assigned to a rate centre, it cannot be allocated elsewhere. This has resulted in thousands of wasted numbers, a problem exacerbated by the proliferation of first pagers and then cell phones—particularly on Vancouver Island and in the larger cities in the Interior. It was decided to make 778, which had been an overlay area code for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, an overlay for the entire province starting on July 4, 2007.[2] Overlays have become the preferred method of area code relief in Canada, as they spare subscribers the expense and burden of changing their numbers—making them an easy workaround for the number allocation problem as opposed to a split plan.

Communities included[edit]

Relief planning[edit]

The projected exhaust date of area code 250 was January 2008. The plan recommended by the Canadian Numbering Administrator, to change the boundaries of area code 778 to include the entire province, was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on June 7, 2007. Mandatory 10-digit dialing began September 12, 2008.[3] As this solution was an overlay, the existing telephone numbers in area code 250 remained unchanged. Three CO prefixes in the 250 area code were reserved for use by Northwestel, as 13 of its 15 switches at the time could not handle multiple area codes, and its system could not accommodate 10-digit-dialling.[3]

Area code 236 was implemented as a distributed overlay of area codes 604, 250, and 778 on 1 June 2013.[4]

Area code 672 has been reserved for British Columbia once area code 236 is exhausted.[4]

See also[edit]

British Columbia area codes: 236/778, 250, 604
North: 867
West: Pacific Ocean, 907 250 (overlaid by 778 and 236) East: 780, 403, 587/825
South: 604/778/236, 360, 509, 208, 406
Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut area codes: 867
Idaho area codes: 208
Washington area codes: 206, 253, 360, 425, 509, 564
Alaska area codes: 907


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°0′0″N 124°0′0″W / 54.00000°N 124.00000°W / 54.00000; -124.00000