272 area code on schedule for third quarter of 2013
Dec 06, 2012 (Standard-Speaker - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A new 272 area code remains on schedule to be implemented in the current 570 area code region during the third quarter of 2013.
However, the public will have more time to get into the habit of dialing 10 digits, as the state Public Utility Commission on Wednesday extended the customer education and permissive dialing period from three months to six months.
Denise McCracken, a PUC spokeswoman, said the commission voted 5-0 to approve part of a petition filed by several telecommunications companies to modify the education period.
The new area code will be an overlay, which means anyone calling a number in either the 272 or 570 area codes will have to use the area code plus the number.
Wayne Milby, a senior relief planner for the North American Numbering Plan Administration -- the agency that oversees the assignment of telephone numbers -- said a recent survey showed the third quarter of 2013 is still valid as the implementation target.
Milby said the forecast for when available numbers in the 570 area code did not change, but that service providers requested a training period twice as long.
During that six-month education period, permissive dialing means customers will be allowed to complete calls whether or not they use the area code, McCracken said.
"Customers may reach numbers in the current area code by either dialing seven or 10 digits," she said. "At that time companies will start customer education programs informing customers that, when the new overlay area code is activated, all calls be made by dialing 10 digits, which includes the area code and the seven-digit number."
The 10-digit calling will begin at the end of the six-month period.
"If only the seven-digit number is dialed at (that) time, the customer will reach a recorded announcement stating they must hang up and redial the number using the area code plus the seven-digit number," McCracken said. "This recording will be available permanently."
Neustar, the third-party area code planner, will continue to provide monthly updates to the PUC on the projected exhaust date of the 570 area code.
'When we receive information that the exhaustion date is six months away, all affected carriers will be informed and the customer education and permissive dialing period will begin," McCracken said
"When we get the final notice of the exact exhaust date, that's when the public education will begin."
On July 15, 2010, the PUC voted 5-0 to approve the overlay plan, in an effort to implement area code relief that is the least disruptive.
Once the existing telephone numbers with the 570 area code are used up, new telephone services will be assigned numbers out of the new 272 area code. Ten-digit local dialing will then apply.
On Dec. 5, 1998, the 717 area code, which covered a portion of eastern Pennsylvania, was split. The new 570 area code was assigned to Northeastern Pennsylvania, while 717 was kept in the Harrisburg area.
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