Area code 604

Telephone area code 604 serves southwestern British Columbia: the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound/Sea to Sky Corridor, Fraser Valley and the lower Fraser Canyon regions. It primarily serves the city of Vancouver and surrounding regions. 604 is one of the original 86 area codes assigned in 1947 in the contiguous United States and the then nine provinces of Canada. It originally served the entire province until a geographic split was implemented in 1997, creating the new area code 250 for the remainder of the province.[1]

Until 1988, area 604 also included Point Roberts, Washington, a pene-enclave of the United States; it was transferred in that year to 206 and is now served by area code 360.

While the 1997 split was intended as a long-term solution, within three years, 604 was close to exhaustion due to Canada's inefficient number allocation system. Every CLEC in the country is allocated blocks of 10,000 numbers for every rate centre where it offers service, even for the smallest hamlets. Once a number is assigned to a carrier and rate centre, it can't be moved elsewhere, even when it is in an area that doesn't need nearly as many numbers as a larger one. This resulted in many wasted numbers. The problem was exacerbated because the Lower Mainland (and particularly the Vancouver area) is home to most of the province's landlines, as well as most of its cell phones.

On November 3, 2001, area code 778 was implemented as a concentrated overlay for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District. This experiment was announced in NANP planning letter PL-246. The remainder of the Lower Mainland continued to use only 604. The addition of area code 778 required the implementation of ten-digit dialing throughout all of southwestern British Columbia.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced on June 7, 2007, that 778 would become an overlay for the entire province on July 4, 2007, after the same number allocation problems brought 250 close to exhaustion.[2] Effective June 23, 2008, 10-digit dialing became mandatory in BC and a recording was played to remind of the new rule. After September 12, 2008, 7-digit dialing was no longer functional.[3]

The incumbent local exchange carrier in 604 and 778 is Telus. Through "number portability" and sub-allocation of all numbers in some exchanges to a competitor, many numbers in the 778 area code are now serviced by Shaw Cablesystems.[4]

Communities included

Future planning

Area code 236 was implemented as a distributed overlay of area codes 604, 250, and 778 on 1 June 2013.[5]

Area code 672 has been reserved for British Columbia once area code 236 is exhausted.[5]

See also


External links

British Columbia area codes: 236, 250, 604, 778
North: 250/778/236
West: 250/778/236 604 (overlaid by 778 and 236) East: 250/778/236
South: 360
Washington area codes: 206, 253, 360, 425, 509

Coordinates: 49°30′N 123°0′W / 49.500°N 123.000°W / 49.500; -123.000

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