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FCC to Sell Select Toll-Free Numbers to the Highest Bidder
Trying to appeal to customers and prospects through the use of toll-free numbers might seem like a thing of the past. But, as it turns out, some businesses are still keen on this method of marketing. And the Federal Communications Commission apparently wants a piece of the action.
So the FCC (News - Alert) plans to offer select toll-free numbers to the highest bidder as part of what it describes as an experiment. That’s as opposed to doling out toll-free numbers on a first-come-first-served basis, as the FCC has done in the past.
The FCC last year introduced the new 833 toll-free area code. And as part of this new experiment, it will make about 17,000 numbers in that area code available to the highest bidders.
These specific numbers are particularly attractive given they can be used as vanity numbers. “Many of these numbers are easy to remember, such as 833-LAWYERS or 833-333-3333,” the FCC explains.
A report last week by the American Enterprise Institute suggests that interested parties will place their bids in sealed envelopes. And the highest bidder for each number will be the winner. Neither the AEI or the FCC disclosed when these auctions will commence or conclude. And the FCC didn’t respond by TMCnet’s deadline as to whether there will be minimum bids for these numbers.
The FCC framed this experiment as an effort to make sure “that sought-after numbers are awarded to the parties that value them most” and not hoarded by RespOrgs. And it adds that certain 833 numbers will be reserved for government and non-profit entities.
Of course, the auction will also create an additional revenue source for the commission. It says those revenues will be used to defray the cost of toll-free numbering administration, and thus reduce the cost of numbering for all users.
Edited by Maurice Nagle