FCC to Auction Toll-Free Numbers
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | Comments

For the first time, the FCC will use an auction to distribute certain toll-free numbers. The commission plans to auction about 17,000 numbers in the new 833 toll-free code for which there have been multiple, competing requests.

Many of these numbers are easy to remember, such as 833-LAWYERS or 833-333-3333.

“By using an auction, the FCC will ensure that sought-after numbers are awarded to the parties that value them most,” a statement said. “The FCC will study the results of the auction to determine how to best use the mechanism to distribute toll-free numbers equitably and efficiently in the future as well.”

In addition, the FCC will reserve certain 833 numbers for distribution to government and non-profit entities that request them for public health and safety purposes.

Toll-free calling originated in 1967 and remains important to large and small businesses for sales, customer service, advertising and marketing. Currently, toll-free numbers are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

“But this system does not consider the need for or the value placed on particular numbers, and the system can be gamed by organizations who have the fastest connectivity to toll-free number databases,” the FCC said.

Revenues from the auction will be used to defray the cost of toll-free numbering administration, reducing the cost of numbering for all users. The order establishing the toll-free auction will also authorize and accommodate the use of a secondary market for numbers awarded at auction to further distribute these numbers to the entities that value them most.

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On 10/3/18, Gerald Marsh said:
I wonder how many scammers will be wanting to get their own toll-free number. I have been swamped with calls from numbers that are out of service area codes that have not been issued — robo call after robo call and toll-free numbers that are bogus. Just one more area code to block. I have 417 on my blocker now.

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