(Indianapolis, Ind.) - A new area code for southern Indiana could require you to dial ten digits, even for your next door neighbor.
The 812 area code is on pace to run out of available numbers by 2015. On Thursday, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor recommended that a new area code be implemented as an overlay across all of southern Indiana.
The overlay method means consumers will keep their existing phone numbers, while numbers with the new area code could start being handed out next year.
An alternative plan for a new area code would have presented even bigger difficulty for our region, arguably. The OUCC had considered a geographically splitting southern Indiana in half: one portion retaining the 812 area code, the other using all new numbers with the new area code.
That would have required all numbers in our area to change area codes, which would have meant advertising, business letterhead, and the numbers saved in your cell phone would have had to be changed to reflect the new area code.
Whichever direction the OUCC settles on, it will be the first major change for the 812 area code since 1947. With either option, practices remaining the same include 911, 811, and 211 calls; long distance rates; local rates, and local calling area boundaries.
The OUCC is still in the consideration stage of the new area code implementation. The agency is expected to make a final decision by the end of 2013. Once a direction is chosen, the new area code transition will last about one year starting as soon as late 2014.
According to the OUCC, overlays either have been or are being implemented in 24 states including all four that border Indiana.
More information on the 812 area code change can be found on the OUCC website at www.in.gov/oucc/2718.htm.