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The Province of New Brunswick is very unique. It is one of the three Canadian Maritime provinces – Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia are the other two – and it is the only province in Canada to be constitutionally bilingual. And since it was first issued in 1955, the area code 506 has been assigned to the province and remains an iconic symbol of New Brunswick today. Change is coming though, as the 506-area code is scheduled to become exhausted in 2020, meaning that a new area code will have to be overlaid in. The CRTC is already planning this and has, since May 2016, reserved future area code 428 to fulfil this task when the time comes. (Reference: Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2016-206, dated 31 May 2016)


How Can an Area Code Become Exhausted?


Originally, beginning in 1947, all the contiguous states of the US, as well as the original nine provinces of Canada, were assigned a set of three digit numbers that Bell Telephone christened ‘area codes’. There were a total of 89 [In the beginning there were a total of 86 Area assigned by the AT&T (or Bell Telephone) 9 in Canada and 77 for Continental US] area codes at their launch. As the popularity of the phone grew it was obvious that more would need to be added.

Most people do not know this; however, Area Code 506 was originally introduced in 1955 to provide a split for Area Code 902 which then covered, the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Islands, is now confined to the Provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island alone. During this “divorce”, the young 506 Area Code would cover New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s only a few years later, in 1962, that Newfoundland and Labrador will get its own Area Code; thus, introducing the first split of Area Code 506 which was only then retained solely for New Brunswick.

Today the 506-area code is almost exhausted. But what does that mean? It’s actually little to do with the three digits that make up an area code but with the three digits that follow it, the NXX code, also known as Rate Centre, or CO Code (Central Office Code). An NXX code, or rate Centre, further identifies the geographical area a phone number is located in and it is those codes that can only be issued in limited amounts. Once they are so is the area code. It will still exist, but obtaining a new 506 area code number after exhaustion will be very difficult.


Exploring the ‘506’ area code


As we mentioned, the 506 area code has been synonymous with New Brunswick for a long time now. And it is a very special place. All in all, area code 506 covers all of these villages, towns, cities and settlements:


  • Albert
  • Allardville
  • Alma
  • Baie-Sainte-Anne
  • Balmoral
  • Baker Brook
  • Bathurst
  • Belledune
  • Blacks Harbour
  • Blackville
  • Boiestown
  • Bouctouche
  • Browns Flat
  • Campbellton
  • Campobello Island
  • Cap-Pelé
  • Caraquet
  • Chipman
  • Clair
  • Cocagne
  • Dalhousie
  • Deer Island
  • Doaktown
  • Dorchester
  • Edmundston
  • Florenceville
  • Fords Mills
  • Fredericton
  • Fredericton Junction
  • Gagetown
  • Grand Bay–Westfield
  • Grand Falls
  • Grand Manan
  • Grande-Anse
  • Hampton
  • Hartland
  • Harvey
  • Hillsborough
  • Hoyt
  • Kedgwick
  • Lamèque
  • Maces Bay
  • McAdam
  • Meductic
  • Memramcook
  • Millville
  • Minto
  • Miramichi
  • Moncton
  • Nackawic
  • Neguac
  • New Denmark
  • Norton
  • Oromocto
  • Paquetville
  • Perth-Andover
  • Petitcodiac
  • Petit-Rocher
  • Plaster Rock
  • Port Elgin
  • Richibucto
  • Riverside-Albert
  • Rogersville
  • Rothesay
  • Sackville
  • Saint-Antoine
  • Saint-Basile
  • Saint-Isidore
  • Saint-Léonard
  • Saint-Louis-de-Kent
  • Saint-Quentin
  • Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska
  • Saint John
  • Salisbury
  • Shediac
  • Shippagan
  • Springfield, Kings County
  • Stanley
  • Andrews
  • George
  • Martins
  • Stephen
  • Summerville
  • Sussex
  • Tracadie
  • Welsford
  • Woodstock
  • Youngs Cove


As we mentioned, New Brunswick is a province quite unlike any other. Here’s a look at just some of the cities that make it so:


  • Fredericton – Fredericton is the capital city of New Brunswick. It’s not the largest, but it is the centre of government in the province and has been for over a century. With that being the case many of the locals work in the public sector, but there is also a growing IT presence and educational institutions like the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design are locally very important.


Fredericton, which was named for the second son of King George III of England, Prince Frederick Augustus, is also an important centre for arts and culture in the province. It’s a scene that has both Anglo Saxon and Francophile influences left over from its earliest settlers and as such is extremely colourful, diverse and influential.


The businesses operating in the city are proud to be able to call the 506 area code their own as it marks them as a part of this special area, so the plans to begin adding a new area code soon are not pleasing many. Business branding is more important than ever, and for Fredericton businesses the area code 506 is certainly a big part of that brand.


  • Greater Moncton – Greater Moncton is the largest of the cities in New Brunswick. It is actually a metropolitan district made up of several different areas, and is also known as Greater Moncton Census Metropolitan Area.


At the heart of the CMA is Moncton itself, one of the oldest cities in Canada, established in 1766 by a group of immigrants from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the still developing United States. It’s a city of survival, as twice in its history its economy has been decimated when an important industry failed, in this case the demise of the shipbuilding trade in the 1860s and then by the closure of rail yards in the 1980s. On both occasions the city has bounced back admirably though. It is currently enjoying a stable and growing economy based primarily on the retail, educational, health care, financial, information technology, and insurance sectors, living up to its city motto of Resurgo or ‘I rise again’.


  • Saint John – The port city of Saint John was the very first to be incorporated in Canada, all the way back in 1785. The city, and the river that flows through it, got its name thanks to the fact that the earliest settlers, led by one Samuel de Champlain happened to land at what would become Saint John Harbour on June 24, 1604, the feast of St. John the Baptist, so Champlain decreed it would be a fitting and memorable name.


Saint John has seen it all. Wars, floods, fires, disease and even famine. But it has not only survived but thrived and is today a modern, vibrant place that honours its historic past while embracing the future. Fishing is still an important part of the economy, but now tourism, retail, secondary education and tech are big players too.


Why Do People Still Care About Area Codes?


Area codes in North America have now been around for 70 years – the very first were introduced in 1947 – and the purpose for which they originally existed – to ease the burden on human operators and allow direct calls to be placed, has long all but become obsolete. The computers that now connect calls still make use of them of course, but to many people and businesses they also represent their hometowns and, to a certain degree, their identity.


This can be especially true for a business. People tend to trust local businesses over national concerns who are far away, and this can be very good for smaller and medium size concerns. It’s also, as we already mentioned, a big part of business branding, so it’s no wonder that many in New Brunswick want to hold onto their 506-area code for as long as they can.


Represent Locally, Operate Globally


With all of this talk of area codes and their potential importance it may surprise you to learn that there is still a way that a business, entrepreneur or individual can get a 506-area code number to use as they need to without actually having a physical presence in New Brunswick. It’s possible via an Internet powered, cloud based Digital Voice system, but that’s only one advantage such a system offers.


Grow Your Business with Digital Voice


You have probably at least heard about Digital Voice business telephone systems. Rather than being tied to wires, cabling and jacks these systems are powered by the Internet, with headsets, handsets and other devices simply needing USB, wi-fi or sometimes Bluetooth capabilities to be connected to the system.


Ease of set up is just one of the advantages that a cloud based business telephone system has to offer over a traditional PBX system though. There are many more, including all of the following:


  • Cheaper calling rates, locally, nationally and globally
  • Choose your phone numbers, choose your area codes.
  • As many – or as few – phone lines as you need.
  • Simple expansion, add an extra line in as little as a few minutes.
  • No more wires, place your phones and faxes wherever you like, as long as they have Internet access nearby.
  • Go mobile with simple number and call forwarding that allows you to answer your mobile phone as if you were at your desk.
  • Integrate other communication tools and even softwares with ease.
  • Add IVR and auto attendant options affordably and easily.
  • Monitor all of your communications from a single dashboard
  • Enjoy enhanced voicemail services
  • Control costs, improve customer service and much more.


Sounds good? It is. If the idea of getting a more efficient, more feature rich and less expensive business phone system appeals to you, we can help. We can also help ensure that you get one, or more, of those coveted area code 506 phone numbers before they run out. But you do have to act quickly, as the 506-area code is coming to the end of its active life soon, so if a number that features it is important to you claim yours now, before your competitors do.