Area code 250

Area code 250 is an area code for most of the Canadian province of British Columbia, including Vancouver Island. 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 don't need nearly that many numbers, once a prefix is assigned to a rate centre, it can't be allocated elsewhere. This resulted in thousands of wasted numbers, a problem exacerbated by the proliferation of cell phones and pagers. Rather than employ another split, 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; no area codes have been split since 1999. However, it is likely that an overlay would have been implemented in any event, as the region's carriers did not want to force their customers (particularly in rural areas) to change their numbers for the second time in a decade.

Communities included

Relief planning

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

British Columbia area codes: 236, 250, 604, 778
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
Alaska area codes: 907


  1. "NPA Code Search Information". NANPA. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  2. New dialing to come in British Columbia Archived June 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. 1 2 "Telecom Decision CRTC 2007-38". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 7 June 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  4. 1 2 "Telecom Decision CRTC 2011-451". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Retrieved 4 August 2011.

External links

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

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