Here’s a suggested New Year’s resolution from the Kentucky Service Commission for anyone living in area code 270: start dialing the area code with every phone call you make in 2014.
“This is a resolution that will be much easier to keep than those annual promises to exercise more or eat healthier,” PSC Chairman David Armstrong said. “And beginning in February, you won’t have a choice anyway.”
Mandatory 10-digit dialing for local calls begins Feb. 1, when area code 364 is added to the same geographic area as the current area code 270.
That means there is less than a month left in the “permissive dialing” period during which customers can dial either seven or 10 digits when making local calls in area code 270.
“With mandatory 10-digit dialing just a few weeks away, it makes sense to get into the habit of using the new dialing pattern,” Armstrong said.
The permissive dialing period allows customers to get used to the new dialing pattern and permits telecommunication providers to prepare and test equipment in advance of the establishment of the new area code.
Area code 364 was created in December 2012 when the PSC decided that the best way to meet the need for more telephone numbers in area code 270 was through the creation of an overlay, which superimposes a new area code over an existing area code.
“Keep in mind that an overlay does not change current area code 270 numbers; everyone can keep their current number,” Armstrong said. “The only change is the 10-digit dialing requirement for local calls.”
The overlay option is the least disruptive for all customers and imposes the smallest cost on businesses in the area, the PSC said in its order creating area code 364. This is the first area code in Kentucky created by an overlay.
Dialing 1 for local calls is not necessary now and will not be necessary after Feb. 1. Local calls will not become long-distance calls.
In its December 2012 order, the PSC noted that public comments received in the case overwhelmingly favored an overlay. The other option was to split area code 270 and designate a portion as area code 364, with both landline and wireless customers in the affected portion required to change their area code as a result.
The PSC noted that area code overlays have become the preferred method for creating new area codes nationwide. Overlays pose the fewest technical issues for implementation by an increasing complex telecommunication industry, the PSC said.
The first numbers using area code 364 may be assigned beginning March 3. Area code 270 numbers can be assigned after that date, but their availability will depend on how many remain in the inventory of each individual service provider.