Enterprise and Zenith Numbers

In the past there has been discussion here of ENterprise and ZEnith numbers, precursors to toll-free services. I've always thought those services were a thing of the past now, a vestige of the former incarnations of AT&T and the Bell System.

Well, today I received a new copy of the "official" 2007-2008 Nevada DOT state map. In moderately large type this document claims that to reach the State Highway Patrol "dial the Operator and ask for ZEnith

1-2000" (the 2000 issue of this map has the same instruction). I didn't dial this number (I didn't want to get mixed up with placing calls to emergency services just to chat!) so I have no clue how an Oregon Verizon (nee GTE) operator would handle this call. But I was pretty surprised to see ZEnith numbers still in service. Does anyone have other examples of these things still around? (Wikipedia claims the same number (ZE1-2000) reaches the California Highway Patrol and it provides some other ZEnith numbers, presumably still in service)

The Nevada map also recommends dialing *NHP from your cellular telephone to reach the State Patrol. I'm wondering if all cellular carriers observe that dialing shorthand or if only a couple of the larger services will complete those calls. Maybe on a visit to Nevada later this summer I'll try *NHP from my "TracFone" and report the results.


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: If the telco operators are properly trained, they will either use their (at hand) 'flip chart' to look up dialing instructions or perhaps they will consult with Rate and Route (which is operated for all telcos by AT&T out of Morris, IL [operator would dial +815+161] to get details). While Zenith and Enterprise are no longer sold to customers, they are grandfathered to existing customers who have had the services for (obviously) many, many years. I am not sure about the way the number is parsed in your example. The number is _probably_ parsed 'Zenith 12000' rather than 'ZEnith 1-2000' All that Zenith and Enterprise did was serve as shorthand for 'place this as a collect call' and the digits following did two things: they served to tell _which subscriber_ had automatically authorized 'collect calls' and which 'calling band' (or geographic area) was entitled to make such 'collect calls'. Nevada Highway Patrol would be such a long-time subscriber. You may recall there is not normally a /Z/ on the standard USA telephone dial, thus no way to dial 'ZEnith'- anything ... Not even in Nevada ... :) Basically what happens is the operator dials some number, let's call it 702-xxx-xxxx and is not required to remain on the line asking the answering party if they will accept a collect call. Her flip chart or Rate/Route tells her the number to be dialed. I just love it when Wikipedia and these other know-nothings expound on telecom subjects, don't you? PAT]
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Al Gillis
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