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As referenced on Wiki 3-1-1- content page and 311 history, 3-1-1 is a special telephone number supported in many communities in Canada and the United States. The number provides access to non-emergency municipal services. The number format follows the N11 code for a group of short, special-purpose local numbers as designated in the North American Numbering Plan.
The telephone number 3-1-1 creates a central hub for local subscribers to access a variety of city services. It is intended, in part, to divert routine inquiries and non-urgent community concerns from the 9-1-1 number which is reserved for emergency service.
The first use of 3-1-1 for informational services was in Baltimore, Maryland, where the service commenced on 2 October 1996. 3-1-1 is intended to connect callers to a call center that can be the same as the 9-1-1 call center, but with 3-1-1 calls assigned a secondary priority, answered only when no 9-1-1 calls are waiting. This system is intended to extend the system such that true emergency callers are answered quickly with the highest priority.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) reserved the use of 3-1-1 for non-emergency municipal services throughout Canada on 5 November 2004. The first Canadian
3-1-1 service opened in Calgary, Alberta on 18 May 2005.
According to GovTech, since its inception, 311 has evolved with technological advances into a multi-channel service that connects citizens with government, while also providing a wealth of data that improve how cities are run.
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