New area codes mean local phone calls will require 10 digits [Greensburg Daily News, Ind. :: ]
(Greensburg Daily News (IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 28--GREENSBURG -- Come September, Hoosiers in all of Southern Indiana (the bottom one-third of the state) will spend a little extra time and effort dialing local calls -- three digits worth, to be precise.
Jenni Hanna, public relations coordinator for Enhanced Telecommunications (ETC), Greensburg, told the Daily News on Wednesday that the change will impact all ETC customers in Decatur County. In fact, anyone dialing a local phone number through any carrier -- landline or cell -- should begin entering the area code plus the regular, seven-digit number to make local calls beginning Saturday, March 1.
The Indiana Regulatory Commission (IRC), however -- which sets policy on such matters -- has established a grace period for consumers to adapt to the new policy. As such, consumers who continue dialing only seven numbers will still reach their intended party until September, 2014.
On Sept. 6, however, seven-digit dialers won't be connected and will receive a message to hang up and try the call again.
Because Southern Indiana's current 812 area code has run out of numbers, on Oct. 6, the IRC will begin rolling out the new, 930 area code in what's known as a geographic-overlay system.
According to an article published in the Columbus Republic last year, the end of new 812 numbers comes sooner than anticipated. Previously, the IRC had estimated 812 would be exhausted sometime in 2015. The 812 code was established in 1947 and has been in use ever since.
According to Hanna, the IRC began holding public focus groups throughout Southern Indiana in March 2013. These public forums continued throughout the year (the nearest of which in relation to Decatur County was held in St. Leon), Hanna explained, and the IRC came away with overwhelming feedback that a geographic-overlay scheme was preferable to what's known as a geographic-split.
According to the Republic article cited above, in a split system, Southern Indiana would be split along defined geographic lines, with one side of the line remaining part of 812 and the other reassigned to 930.
Because a split system wouldn't require consumers to alter dialing habits, everyday users might have found a split more convenient -- not so for businesses. The problem with a split system, Hanna said, is that businesses assigned to 930 would be forced to change business cards, marketing materials, websites and other business-related stationary or advertising, giving rise to significant expense and marketing challenges. With the overlay system, such difficulties will be avoided because only new numbers will be assigned to 930.
Long-distance dialing, according to Hanna, will be unaffected by the change, with landline users still required to dial '1' before the number to make a long-distance call.
"People might not be thrilled about this change [the 10-digit dialing requirement]," Hanna said, "but I think this is really the best-case scenario."
Hanna also reminded consumers that the practical end of 812 doesn't automatically mean no new 812 numbers will ever again be assigned.
"There will still be 812 numbers floating around that will be reassigned," she said. "That's certainly an option, but new numbers are much more likely be assigned to 930. There will be many more of those available."
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