Before the
     Federal Communications Commission
     Washington, D.C.  20554


     In the Matter of                                            
     Petition for Declaratory Ruling and    )
     Request for Expedited Action on        )NSD File No. L-97-42
     July 15, 1997 Order of the Pennsylvania)
     Public Utility Commission Regarding    )
     Area Codes 412, 610, 215 and 717       )
     Implementation of the Local Competition)
     Provisions of
      the Telecommunications Act     )CC Docket No. 96-98 of 1996 

        The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC)
respectfully requests that the FCC reconsider its September 28,
1998 Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration (Opinion) in
the above-captioned matter.  The NHPUC requests that the FCC (1)
remove the condition in Paragraph 24 that requires a state
commission to decide upon a specific form of area code relief
before it is allowed to impose central office code (NXX)
conservation measures, (2) authorize state commissions to
implement NXX conservation measures that do not interfere with
the FCC's guidelines for traditional area code relief;  and (3)
clarify the authority state commissions have to order return of
NXXs.  The NHPUC joins in the arguments presented in the
Petitions for Reconsideration by the Maine Public Utilities
Commission (MPUC) and the Massachusetts Department of
Telecommunications and Energy in this matter.
           The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission joins New
Hampshire in requesting the FCC to reconsider its Opinion. 
Although the specific facts differ somewhat, Rhode Island agrees
that consumers will benefit by a number conservation process that
avoids the premature  imposition of new area codes.
           The FCC's Opinion,  issued September 28, 1998 in
response to a petition for declaratory ruling on a Pennsylvania
Public Utility Commission order regarding four Pennsylvania area
codes, concluded inter alia that the following restrictions apply
to states' ability to address area code exhaust.    (1) State
commissions are authorized by the FCC to order NXX code
conservation measures only in conjunction with traditional area
code relief decisions and only if the industry is unable to reach
consensus on a rationing plan to extend the life of an area code. 
(2) States may implement experimental number conservation efforts
only if the FCC's Common Carrier Bureau approves such efforts and
grants appropriate additional authority to the states.
           The FCC's Order made clear that it retains sole
authority for numbering administration, including NXX code
allocation and assignment.  The FCC confirmed states' limited
authority to introduce new area codes via geographic split,
boundary realignment, or overlay.  The FCC discussed three main
issues:  (1)  a need for national uniformity and parity in number
conservation methods, (2) a need to insure that states address
area code relief in timely fashion, and (3) the explicit
assignment of numbering authority to the FCC and its appointed
North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA).    
A.   The FCC's Opinion is contrary to the public interest as it
causes the imposition of new area codes prior to actual need,
thus burdening customers with unnecessary costs and confusion.

           On November 6, 1998, NANPA officially declared New
Hampshire's 603 area code in "extraordinary jeopardy."  As a
result, New Hampshire NXXs are now being rationed at a rate of 3
per month in order to insure the area code is not exhausted
before a new area code can be introduced, which is projected for
the fourth quarter of 2000.   If the NHPUC had been authorized to
impose conservation measures which could delay jeopardy, New
Hampshire might never have needed to plan for a new area code. 
Certainly the exhaustion of area code 603 would be delayed by
some years, during which time technology may very well obviate
the need for new area codes.  The NHPUC suggests that its close
understanding of state conditions will enable better allocation
of whatever new numbering resource may be developed.  In light of
the experience with new area codes of our sister state
Massachusetts, recounted in its Motion for Reconsideration filed
October 27, 1998, the NHPUC sees a need for state conservation
           State commissions are in the best position to develop
NXX conservation measures to implement in order to extend the
longevity of an area code.  State commissions, as recognized by
the FCC at  9 and 21 of the Opinion, have a unique
understanding and familiarity with local circumstances, being
much closer to particular in-state needs and concerns.
           The circumstances in New Hampshire provide a cogent
example of why it is important for the FCC to authorize state
commissions to implement conservations measures early.  In New
Hampshire, despite the NANPA's declaration of extraordinary
jeopardy, enough numbers exist to avoid area code exhaust.  New
Hampshire has fewer than 750,000 active wirelines in service and
fewer than 1.2 million citizens.  As the FCC is aware, a single
area code like New Hampshire's 603 contains approximately
7,600,000 usable telephone numbers.  Each NXX within an area code
contains 10,000 telephone numbers.   The problem is that NXXs are
assigned in full 10,000 number blocks.  As a result of current
practices, there may be as many as 1.5 to 3 million unused
numbers in the 603 area code.  Furthermore, assigned NXXs may
contain at least as many unused numbers because competitive
providers obtain NXXs in multiple if not all New Hampshire
exchanges and serve far fewer customers.  Bell Atlantic, the
Regional Bell Operating Company, serves many customers but
provides multiple NXXs per community.  Thus, a large quantity of
unused numbers within untainted number blocks exists for use in
number conservation efforts and when number pooling becomes
technically feasible in the near future.
           Introducing new area codes causes significant
disruption and expenses to consumers.  Businesses incur high
costs to change company letterhead, documents, vehicles, and
advertisements.  All citizens undergo a period of adjustment. 
Requiring consumers to incur these expenses unnecessarily when
measures are available to avoid them conflicts with the NHPUC's
state legislative mandate to protect consumer interests.  The
NHPUC therefore urges the FCC to take advantage of our and other
states' ability to protect our consumers' interests.  
           The NHPUC has been working hard for several years to
insure the development of local competition.  The NHPUC has no
motive to use numbering resources anti-competitively and can
implement number conservation efforts non-discriminatorily. 
Conversely, industry members, to whom the FCC has given authority
to establish conservation measures, may have reason to use the
resources anti-competitively.  Some industry members are already
well-supplied with unused numbers and will strive to keep that
advantage.  For that reason, it is unproductive to tie the state
commission's hands for a period of time during which the industry
is to reach consensus on rationing measures.   Consumers will be
better served by state initiated action, at least until national
efforts are established.
           The rational allocation of numbering resources prior
to establishing new area codes would benefit both the development
of competition and consumers.  Requiring states to move forward
with the implementation of a new area code before taking steps to
conserve the existing area code will, in practice, impede the
FCC's pro-competitive goals and unnecessarily harm consumers.
B.  The FCC's Concerns can be addressed, without denying states
the opportunity to protect state interests, by defining the
parameters for approved number pooling and other conservation
           The FCC Opinion indicates approval of a number pooling
trial currently being conducted by Illinois.  While granting
Illinois continued authority because "the Illinois trial does not
interfere with the operation of the guidelines that the
Commission has established for traditional area code relief,"
the FCC' Opinion denied other states permission to implement
similar trials of conservation methods that similarly do not
interfere with the guidelines.  Instead, the FCC Opinion required
states to apply to the FCC's Common Carrier Board for such
permission.  By thus establishing an FCC proceeding for each
state that wants to protect its citizens from unnecessary area
code exhaust, the FCC has missed an opportunity to take advantage
of state expertise and at the same time creating the uniformity
and parity it deems necessary.  The FCC, under its exclusive
jurisdiction over numbering, could have enumerated for states the
acceptable number conservation methods and manner of
           The FCC has the information and ability to set the
parameters for state number conservation efforts prior to NANPA's
declaration of jeopardy.  Doing so would assist consumers without
endangering competition or the smooth functioning of
telecommunications services nationally.  Therefore, the NHPUC
requests the FCC to authorize state commissions to impose NXX
conservation measures that, like the Illinois efforts, will not
interfere with the FCC's traditional area code relief guidelines.
           Furthermore, enabling states to participate in the
efficient use of NXXs will insure that states act in a timely
fashion to implement area code relief.  The fact that forecasting
will reflect efficient use of NXXs rather than inefficient waste
will not impair the accuracy of the forecasting.  States will
participate in traditional area code relief planning, as they
have in the past, but with confidence that they are meeting their
responsibilities to state consumers.
C.  The Opinion is overbroad in its blanket denial of state
authority to reclaim NXX codes. 
           Paragraph 24 of the Opinion states that "state
commissions do not have authority to order return of NXX codes or
1,000 number blocks to the code administrator."   While it
appears from the context of the Opinion that this statement is
limited to code conservation-related orders, the language used in
the Opinion is very broad and could be interpreted to mean that a
state commission may never order the return of a code.  Such a
conclusion would unreasonably limit a state's ability to enforce
its own rules and regulations regarding the provision of service
within its boundaries.  Carriers do sometimes wrongfully obtain
and/or use numbering resources to the detriment of other properly
certified and operating carriers and hence to the detriment of
competition.  The NHPUC agrees with the Maine PUC (MPUC) that
state commissions need authority to enforce state rules and
regulations regarding the provision of services within the state.
           The NHPUC also agrees with the MPUC that the Industry
Number Committee's Central Office Code Administration Guidelines
(Industry Guidelines), which the Commission relies on, do not
guarantee an effective and fair code allocation process. 
Pursuant to the Industry Guidelines, cases of improper
acquisition and misuse of NXXs will be subject to a lengthy
process involving industry consensus prior to referral to a
regulatory body.  The NHPUC contends that industry consensus in a
newly competitive industry will be hard won, if at all, and very
time consuming.  The Industry Guidelines set no time lines so
there is no guarantee that the NANPA would even get involved for
           In the post-Act era, a state commission's role is
often that of arbitrator between competitive carriers, rather
than that of rate regulator.  State commissions should be allowed
to perform that function in regard to numbering infractions
because states are in the best position to police numbering
infractions.  The Industry Guidelines are incapable of performing
that function effectively.  For example, in New Hampshire as in
Maine, carriers obtain many more NXX code telephone numbers than
they intend to serve.  For example, one carrier applied for 23
NXXs, i.e. for 230,000 telephone numbers, merely to enable
start-up operations in the 23 local calling areas where operation
is intended.  Fortunately, the request appears to have been made
subsequent to the NANPA jeopardy declaration and thus the
wasteful allocation of numbers will not occur, but this example
clearly demonstrates the problem of waste.  
           There are also New Hampshire carriers which obtain
NXXs in order to serve Internet Service Providers customers toll
free.  These anti-competitive mis-uses of numbering resources
must not be allowed to continue unabated during a prolonged
industry process.  The NHPUC contends that states are able to
address the problems more quickly and more efficiently than NANPA
and consistent with the federal aims.  Therefore, the NHPUC
requests that the FCC clarify the language in 24 and delegate
the necessary additional state authority in the following limited
manner.  The NHPUC requests authority to reclaim NXXs obtained or
used in violation of state rules, regulations, and policies.
           The NHPUC has taken steps to assist the industry to
reach voluntary consensus regarding a plan for  number
conservation measures in New Hampshire.  On December 22, 1998,
the NHPUC will host an industry meeting for the purpose of
achieving voluntary participation in such a plan.   We anticipate
submitting that plan to the FCC for review and appropriate
delegation of authority to implement the plan in the near future. 
Nonetheless, for the reasons described above, the NHPUC
respectfully requests that the FCC (1) strike that portion of its
Opinion which restricts states from imposing number conservation
methods until after a final decision is made regarding the
implementation of a new area code, (2) delegate the necessary
authority to states for implementing NXX conservation measures
that do not interfere with the FCC's guidelines, and (3) clarify
 24's overbroad language in order to permit states to reclaim
improperly obtained or used codes.
                                    Respectfully submitted,
                      E.Barclay Jackson, Esq.
                      New Hampshire Public 
                      Utilities Commission
                      8 Old Suncook Road
                      Concord, New Hampshire 03301
                      (603) 271-2431

                      Adrienne G. Southgate
                      General Counsel
                      Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission
                      100 Orange Street
                      Providence, RI 02901
                      (401) 222-3500, x105