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Area Codes

May 02, 1999

"Cracking the Codes" (April 23) clearly described the proliferation of our area codes. Requiring the Public Utilities Commission to devise a rational approach to the shortage of telephone numbers would create an "overlay" area code for cellular phones, pagers and computer modems.

The PUC also needs to change the antiquated practice of allowing telephone companies to retain "stranded" numbers that are assigned to them but not issued to subscribers. Eleven-digit dialing, as is done in the 310/424 area code, would allow for all subscribers to keep their current area code.

To add to the expense and confusion, telephone companies do not provide subscribers with all of the area's telephone books, requiring them to depend on 411 or another area code's directory assistance, on which costly fees are imposed on the consumer after the first few calls.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH, Supervisor, Fifth District, Los Angeles County

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