November 23, 1999
Calling Space Center, 3-2-1
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By THE NEW YORK TIMES
ureaucrats aren't particularly known for a sense of humor or
of history. So it was something of
a shock when the North American
Numbering Plan Administration,
the agency that assigns area
codes, came up with a clever new
one for Brevard County in Florida.
The county, home of Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space
Center, has long had ties to the
space program. So the new code,
which is being used voluntarily
starting this month and will become permanent in a year, is 321,
as in "3-2-1 liftoff."
Actually, the idea didn't come
from a pencil-pusher, but rather
from a Brevard resident, Robert
Osband, who describes himself as
a telecommunications hobbyist
and space enthusiast.
"This gentleman came to one of
our hearings and said, 'Look, can
we get 321 for Brevard County?' "
said Kevin Bloom, a spokesman
for the Florida Public Service
The commission, which was exploring ways to supplement the
existing 407 area code in that part
of Florida, then took the unusual
step of requesting a specific number from the numbering agency.
As it turned out, Bloom said,
321 had already been promised to
suburban Chicago. But after
some lobbying by a member of
the Florida commission, the number was given to Brevard.
Bloom said that the commission members had been completely taken by the idea when
Osband presented it. "Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones," he said. "And we in
government don't always see