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Monday, Nov 24, 2003

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DoT proposes to slash number of STD codes

G. Rambabu

New Delhi , Nov. 23

IN a move that will simplify the clutter of STD codes numbering 2,645 across the country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) proposes to slash them to just 322.

According to official sources, while this will not make much of a difference to STD codes in the four major metros and bigger cities, it is expected to reduce the confusion that currently exists in the rest of the country.

It will also bring about a standardisation across the country, a change from the current situation where STD codes in some areas are two-digit while they have three and four digits each elsewhere.

The country's telecom network has a three-tier division. To begin with, there are telecom circles that roughly correspond to the size of a big State or a couple of small States.

Then there are long-distance charging areas (LDCAs) that have been demarcated for the purpose of charging STD calls. An LDCA usually covers one or two revenue districts.

The last stage is the short-distance charging area (SDCA), which covers an area of 500-2,000 sq. km.

Each LDCA consists of one or more SDCAs, which are also known as local areas.

Sources said that there are 21 telecom circles, 322 LDCAs and 2,645 SDCAs.

The STD codes that have been allotted to each region across the country are based on the SDCA code, which is decided by the DoT. For instance, the SDCA code for Delhi is 11, but a neighbouring area such as Ghaziabad has a different code (120).

If the DoT proposal is implemented, the STD codes will not be based on the SDCA but on the LDCA.

In other words, the number of areas under one STD code will be increased.

The sources said that this type of numbering scheme is being proposed in lieu of the unified licence regime for long-distance services that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is working on.

The recommendations of the authority are due within six months, by which time the DoT would be ready with the blueprint of its proposal.

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