Brief Background about COR Design
In our (NetCraftsmen) approach to COR design we implement “blocking” at two levels. First, we build a partition for standard blocking patterns (i.e. 1900 numbers) that is applies to all application and user (station) calling search spaces (CSS). Then we build several COR CSS and partitions to handle blocking or enforcing Forced Authorization Codes (FAC) for long distance, international, etc. The various COR CSS’s (other than standard) are applied to a line level based on the various need. So, we block at the line level and allow at the device level for the most part.
Standard Blocking Patterns: What Patterns?
We are dealing with the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) exclusively in this article. The NANP is maintained by the NANP Administration or NANPA. The NANP actually covers more than the United States. It includes Canada as well as surrounding territories. This broad coverage of domain authority is what needs to be considered when designing a dial plan that leverages COR, which all robust dial plans should.
For Canada, the Canadian Numbering Authority (CNA) maintains the area code assignments and maps. The primary consideration for Canada is that while the numbers are dialed as if they were in the US (as long distance, e.g. 9 1 416 xxx xxxx) they are typically routed as international numbers. Meaning, that if your dial plan doesn’t deal with Canadian area codes specifically, users can call and (in some cases) redirect (CFA) their lines to Canada without any consideration for international dialing restrictions you may have assumed in your COR design. We do not propose blocking CNA numbers by default, but we typically recommend accounting for Canadian numbers as part of your international call classification scheme.
In addition to CNA numbers, you have to account for NPAs that service US territories and other surround territories such as Barbados, Antigua, Bermuda, etc. You can identify these area codes by reviewing the NANP’s area code listing here. The NPAs are spread all over the spectrum, but we can summarize the list a little as follows (as of July, 2009):
24[2-6]: Bahamas and Barbados
26: Anguilla and Antigua
284: British Virgin Islands
34: US Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands
649: Turks and Caicos Islands
78: St. Vincent and Grenadines and Puerto Rico
89: Dominican Republic
86: Trinidad, Tobago, St. Kitts, and Nevis
939: Puerto Rico
So, how should you classify calls to these NPAs? That depends on the policies you wish to apply and the nature of your business. I have come across designs where the customer didn’t know they could apply COR, didn’t want to apply COR, or have already applied the appropriate restrictions. Our recommendation is to either make the above mentioned NPAs part of your standard blocking COR (meaning no one calls them) or treat these destinations as international. Depending on your carrier, you may find that these NPAs are treated as international dialing areas and (in some cases) have a significantly higher tariff and/or per minute charge than a standard international rate. So, yes you will need to do a little homework to determine how to treat these NPAs. You should also keep in mind that the list provided may change, you should periodically check the NPA location report available at www.nanpa.com.
900 and 976 Numbers
I often find that people get these two digit strings confused in their design. One is a NPA (area code) and one is a NXX (Exchange). The 900 NPA is classified by NANPA as a “Easily Recognizable Code” with a non-geographic assignment. It is used for premium toll charge services. Meaning, that a special toll charge is applied to any number you call that has a 900 NPA. There are cases where certain 900 numbers need to be allowed for business purposes. However, as a general rule you should block these numbers. If there is a 900 number that a user requires access to, then create a specific pattern (full 10-digit) for this user and leverage FAC to control access. You could create a custom line COR, but that doesn’t scale so well. Usually if one person needs access, you will find the whole department does.
Now, 976 is an actual exchange (NXX) that is a reserved central office code which is used for various services. Most notably, 976 as an exchange is used for premium toll charge services within a given NPA. So, 410976xxxx is an exchange in the 410 NPA that will have a premium rate charged back to the caller. In other words, 900-976-xxxx is a premium toll charge number, as is 900-244-xxxx, and 410-976-xxxx.
NetCraftsmen recommends that (1)900[2-9]xxxxx, (1)[2-9]xx976xxxx, and 976xxxx (for 7-digit dialing areas) are all included as part of your standard blocking COR design.