AMERICAN SAMOA WILL ENJOY DOMESTIC PHONE RATES, HAVE ITS OWN AREA CODE

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 27, 2001 – Samoa News)---A telecommunication industry committee has adopted a subcommittee recommendation to include American Samoa in the North American Numbering Plan (NANPA) and assigned the territory the 684 area code.

The decision comes in the midst of objections from leaders of American Samoa and Guam over an earlier proposal to have American Samoa share either the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or Guam's area code.

On Nov. 12th a technical subcommittee voted in Washington D.C. approving American Samoa's inclusion in the Numbering Plan and for the territory to maintain its current country code -- 684 -- as its area code.

The subcommittee's letter of recommendation was then submitted to the Industry Numbering Committee 60 (INC 60), which met on Nov. 16th and adopted the recommendation, according to local resident George Wray, who was on the mainland for family reasons.

In an e-mail message to Wray from the INC 60 moderator, Norman Epstein of Verizon, it was confirmed that the committee adopted the subcommittee's decision.

A copy of Epstein's e-mail was forwarded to the Samoa News by Wray, who has been lobbying since 1997 for the inclusion of American Samoa in NANPA.

Epstein said the INC's letter will now be approved by the Carrier Liaison Committee (CLC), which is the committee above INC.

"The letter is being sent to the NANPA, but it will be copied to the FCC" and many others, wrote Epstein to Wray.

NANPA will set a date on when the 684 area code assignment is made. But Epstein said that all this will also be contingent on American Samoa releasing the 684 as a country code.

Guam's Congressman Robert Underwood, in a press statement early last week, said NANPA will recommend to the FCC that Guam's area code not be shared with American Samoa.

"We testified against that earlier this month and I'm happy to report that the Number Plan Committee, which reports directly to the FCC, will be recommending that American Samoa have its own area code," said Underwood.

"This suggestion could have resulted in a lot of confusion in the long distance industry and for those of us who make lots of long distance calls," he added.

A spokesperson for NANPA said an official statement from the organization should be released soon regarding this matter and declined to comment further.

The Federal Communication Commission and the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA) had considered two proposals for American Samoa's inclusion in the North American Numbering Plan.

The first proposal was to assign American Samoa a separate area code; the second was that American Samoa share an area code with either Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

NANPA initially preferred that American Samoa share an area code to conserve the number of area codes in the Numbering Plan.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

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