COLUMBUS — The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved a plan that will overlay a new area code, 220, into the existing 740 area code thereby implementing mandatory 10-digit local dialing beginning March 21, 2015.
Under the plan, all calls that are currently local will remain local, while long distance calls will continue as such.
“The Commission found that the overlay plan is the more appropriate and equitable one in order to provide the best long-term relief for the 740 area code,” stated PUCO Chairman Todd A. Snitchler. “The Commission weighed the input received from the public and from the Ohio telecommunications industry and has determined the overlay plan as the least disruptive and fair – treating all existing 740 customers equally by allowing current customers to retain the 740 area code on all existing lines. Today’s order is also consistent with the past four Commission orders in area code relief cases in Ohio.”
According to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), the 740 area code is projected to run out of available phone numbers in the second quarter of 2015. Following today’s approval of an overlay plan, the NANPA will assign the new 220 area code to parts of central and southeast Ohio, that will co-exist with the existing geographical boundaries of the 740 area code. All current 740 area code subscribers will continue to maintain the 740 area code. Once the available phone numbers in the 740 area code exhaust, telephone numbers in the new 220 area code will be utilized.
In order for subscribers in the 740 area code to become accustom to the pending changes in local dialing, subscribers will be able to complete local calls by dialing either 10 or seven digits beginning September 20, 2014 and continue for at least six months. After the six-month grace period, callers will be required to dial 10 digits. Ten-digit dialing means telephone users will need to dial their area code plus the seven-digit telephone number for all local calls in the future.
On Sept. 24, 2013, the Ohio telecommunications industry reached a consensus and filed a petition to recommend the overlay plan to the Commission. On Nov. 6, 2013, the Commission opened a three-week public comment period in which over 900 customer responses were filed with approximately 70 percent in favor of the overlay option.