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Phone customers in the 270 area code region may place calls by dialing seven or 10 digits in preparation for the roll out of an additional area code.
The option to use seven digits ends Jan. 31, 2014, after which customers will be required to dial 10 digits when placing local calls, according to a news release. To dial long distance, callers must add a 1.
Even though use of 10 digits will be required, no additional fees are applied. A local call will remain local, according to the release.
Kentucky Public Service Commission Chairman David Armstrong said there is less than a month to get used to dialing the area code on all calls and to reprogram phones and other equipment that use automatic dialing.
A six-month “permissive dialing” period began in August. Customers now can dial either seven or 10 digits when making local calls in area code 270. Mandatory 10-digit-dialing of local calls begins Feb. 1, 2014.
The permissive dialing period allows telecommunication providers to prepare and test equipment in advance of the establishment of the new area code.
In December, the Kentucky Public Services Commission ordered an area code overlay for the 270 code region, which covers western Kentucky, including Hodgenville, Elizabethtown, Bowling Green and Owensboro.
The code overlay means those with the existing area code will not be required to acquire a new phone number when the fresh code, 364, is introduced.
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.
“An overlay allows everyone who now has an area code 270 phone number to keep that number,”Armstrong said. “The only change is the 10-digit dialing for local calls.”
Beginning March 3, 2014, customers in the region who request new service –such as an additional line –may be assigned a 364 area code.
Allison Willoughby, general manager at Brandenburg Telephone Company, said there is nearly 100,000 possible phone numbers available for an area code.
While not all potential numbers in the 270 region are assigned, she said the available numbers are nearing exhaustion.
“They want to assign another area code before it’s depleted,”Willoughby said.
An informational video about the permissive dialing period is available on the PSC YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/KYPSC.
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.
In its December 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.
All records in the area code case are available on the PSC website, psc.ky.gov. The case number is 2012-00129.
Landmark News Service contributed to this story.
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.
TEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT KENTUCKY’S NEW AREA CODE
1. All current area code 270 numbers remain unchanged. Everyone with a 270 area code number can keep it. Nobody is required to change their area code or phone number.
2. The overlay affects both landline and wireless services.
3. Area code 364 will be overlaid on top of area code 270. That means that area codes 270 and 364 will occupy the same physical space beginning March 2014.
4. In order to distinguish between phone numbers with area code 270 and those with area code 364, 10-digit dialing will be required for all local calls within the overlay.
5. Ten-digit dialing also will be required for local calls into or out of the overlay in those areas that now allow seven-digit local calling across the area code 270 boundary.
6. Ten-digit dialing means dialing the area code before dialing the number itself – for example: 270-555-1212 or 364-555-1212.
7. Long-distance calls within the overlay will require 11-digit (1-plus) dialing, just as long distance calls to other area codes do now.
8. A transition period, known as permissive dialing, began Aug. 3, 2013, and will end Jan. 31, 2014. During that time, local calls can be made using either seven-digit or 10-digit dialing.
9. On Feb. 1, 2014, 10-digit dialing for local calls will become mandatory in the area code 270/364 territory.
10. Numbers with area code 364 may be distributed beginning March 3, 2014. Telecommunication service providers may continue to distribute 270 numbers for as long as they have any remaining in their inventories.
Kentucky Public Service Commission