City officials and residents will come together Thursday at Bloomington High School South to discuss likely ‘812’ area code changes.
More than 35 states have added new area codes throughout the last two decades due to a declining amount of available numbers. Aside from residential and business landlines, these numbers are also assigned to wireless phones, pagers and fax machines.
The 812 telephone area code is running low on available numbers, requiring change in the near future.
A new area code will be added through one of two possible methods: an overlay or a geographic split, according to a press release.
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will decide through which method the new area code will come about. The commission is sponsoring a series of field hearings throughout the ‘812’ area to collect public input. The IURC is the body that will determine when and how a new area code will be implemented, according to the city website.
The overlay method would allow all consumers with ‘812’ numbers to keep their current numbers. Local calling areas and rates would not be affected, but residents would have to start dialing 10 digits for all local calls — the area code plus the number.
The geographic split would allow some residents to keep their current numbers, while others in different parts of the ‘812’ area would be assigned a new area code. The areas have yet to be determined. Customers would still be able to dial seven digits for local calls.
The Office of Utility Consumer Counselor will conduct an informational session at 5:30 p.m. Thursdayprior to the meeting, and the IURC will begin taking public comments beginning at 6 p.m.
The office is responsible for representing consumer interests in cases before the IURC. The OUCC will evaluate the case and is scheduled to file testimony May 15.
A final IURC decision is expected by the end of the year.
— Anu Kumar