New Central Ohio area code approved

COLUMBUS – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has approved a plan to “overlay” a new area code into the existing 614 area code, a move that will require mandatory 10-digit local dialing in the area beginning Sept. 21, 2002.

Under the plan, all calls that are currently local will remain local.

According to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, the 614 area code is projected to run out of numbers in the third quarter of next year. It covers portions of seven central Ohio counties, including Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway, and Union.

In any one area code, about eight million different telephone numbers may be assigned.

The “overlay” plan means a new area code will be assigned to central Ohio, which will co-exist with the existing geographic boundaries of the 614 area code. All existing 614 area code subscribers will continue to maintain the 614 area code. But once there are to more 614 phone numbers available, telephone numbers with the second area code will be utilized.

Dual dialing.

In order to acclimate subscribers in the area o the pending changes in local dialing, they will be able to complete local calls by dialing either with or without the local area code beginning Aug. 18, and continuing for at least six months. In the future, telephone users will be required to dial all ten digits for all local calls.

Telephone numbering in the United States, Canada, and the U.S. territories of the Caribbean is designed and administered according to the North American Numbering Plan. The administrator outlines the procedures and protocols for the assignment of area codes.

In 1998, after monitoring the area code relief processes that had taken place in Ohio over the past several years, the public utilities commission implemented a standardized process to handle future area code relief.

Planning team.

Since last August, a 614 Area Code Planning Team comprised of representatives of the telephone industry and public utilities staff has considered a number of issues and developed two alternative plans that address state and national guidelines for the relief of the current 614 area code.

The Public Utilities Commission was asked to consider either establishing a geographic split of the existing 614 area code, or overlaying a new area code into the existing 614 area code.

Seven new area codes have been added in Ohio during the past five years due to the exhaustion of the state’s previously existing 216, 419 and 614 area codes.

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