(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - Southern Indiana could soon be getting a new area code for phone numbers.
Telecommunications companies are proposing to overlay a new area code for the region because the 812 area code is set to run out by 2015. Cell phones, computers, and other technological advances have led to the available numbers being gobbled up to the point that few remain available.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says the overlay plan would prevent the need for the area to be divided geographically into two separate area codes.
Current owners of an 812 number would not have to change their area code if the overlay route is taken. However, 10-digit dialing for local calls would eventually become mandatory throughout the 812 area.
According to the OUCC, 43 new area codes have been implemented in North America since 2005. All but two have been implemented as overlays.
The overlay method was used for Indiana’s 317 area code in 1996 and the state’s 219 area code in 2001.
If Indiana opts for a geographic split, some southern Indiana residents would keep their current number while others would be forced to change to the new area code. Seven digit dialing would stay in effect for local calls.
A change in area code could become expensive for many. Businesses, schools, and organizations would be required to change the stationery, business cards, and advertising to reflect the new area code.
Either way, the OUCC says an area code change will not affect local or long distance telephone rates, local calling areas, or calls to 911, 811 and 211.
Residents are welcome to comment on the change to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor now through May 7, 2013. They should cite IURC Cause Number 44233:
Mail: Consumer Services Staff; Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor; 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South; Indianapolis, IN 46204
Fax: (317) 232-5923
812 is not the only Indiana area code facing a shortage of numbers. Industry projections show the 317 area code in the Indianapolis metropolitan area running out of numbers in 2016, meaning an area code relief case for 317 may be initiated within the next few years.