An area code overlay allows a new area code to be assigned over the same geographic area as an existing area code, which means any customer requesting additional or new service (e.g., landline, wireless, etc.) could have a different area code for the new number. This results in the need for 10?digit dialing for all calls, regardless of whether they are local or long distance.
“Media throughout southern Indiana have followed this closely and responded with coverage, which has been instrumental in community outreach and educating the public,” said IURC Commissioner Larry Landis. “At the end of the day, it all comes down to education and making sure this transition is as smooth as possible.”
By choosing this alternative, existing customers will be able to retain their 812 area code and keep their existing numbers. However, all customers in this area will now have to use 10-digit dialing given that two area codes will serve the entire central/southern Indiana territory. Because the supply of existing numbers in the 812 area code is virtually exhausted, customers can expect that new numbers may be assigned to the 930 area code when it takes effect, whether the numbers are for wireline (landline) or wireless (cellular) service.
Before the overlay goes into effect, there will be a 13-month grace period that will include six months of customer education and network preparation, followed by six months of permissive seven or 10-digit dialing, and then one month of mandatory 10-digit dialing. Permissive dialing allows customers to make telephone calls using seven or 10 digits during this transition period. Even after the transition, local calls and local calling areas will remain the same (in regards to long distance charges).
Until today’s decision, the 812 area code was the only remaining area code left untouched in Indiana, since its inception in 1947. All other areas have since been split to accommodate growing demand. Population growth, economic progress, and the demand for new services (i.e., cell phones, faxes, and computers) have all contributed to the number shortage.
However, even with continued demand, the 930 and 812 area codes together have a projected life of 71 years. An overlay was the overwhelmingly popular choice advocated by parties to the case, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, and the public during the IURC’s 10 field hearings throughout the state.
To view how area codes have changed in Indiana over the years and the communities in which field hearings were held, please visit: http://www.in.gov/iurc/2703.htm.