If a recommendation from the Indiana Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor is adopted, everyone living in the 812 area code will have to dial the full 10-digit number when placing a call within the area code beginning in late 2014 or early 2015.
The OUCC projects the available 812 area code numbers will run out in 2015. And to address the problem, the state agency is recommending Indiana add a seventh area code with an overlay to meet the growing need for new phone numbers.
The plan would allow everyone with an existing 812 area code to keep that number. All new numbers would be assigned the new area code. Consumers would also have to dial one plus the area code number for local calls.
OUCC spokesman Anthony Swinger says while the overlay may be an inconvenience, it will not cause local calls to be charged as long distance.
“A call that’s local now will still be local after the change, whether it’s an overlay or a split,” he says. “Ten digit dialing doesn’t make free calls become toll calls, but the use of the area code becomes necessary when you have an overlay.”
The other option would be to utilize a geographic split where some consumers would keep their seven digit phone number, and the rest would be assigned a new area code.
Swinger says a decision will likely be made by the end of the year and it will take another year for the new system to be implemented.