The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is holding meetings next week to discuss the transition away from the 812 area code. South Central Indiana has been using the area code for decades and will run out of numbers in 2015.
Ten meetings to discuss the new area code and gather feedback from the community will be held later this month. The first three field hearings are scheduled for March 4 in Terre Haute, March 7 in Bloomington and March 11 in Jeffersonville.
The increasing number of mobile phones has sped the demise of the area code and contributes to a larger trend. Since 1995 the number of area codes in the country has doubled, largely due to new cell traffic.
Verizon Wirless spokeswoman Michelle Gilbert says her company will give out the 812 numbers as long as it can and then just switch over to the new three-digit code, which has not been determined.
“It makes it a lot easier for everyone and then there really wouldn’t be an impact,” she says. “We would use the new area code for new customers as it was required.”
OUCC Spokesman Anthony Swinger says the state nearly had to transition to a new area code nine years ago.
“When numbers are doled out by the telecommunications service providers they are doled out in blocks of 1,000 numbers at a time, it used be that they were dolled out in blocks of 10,000. But beginning in 2001 they began cutting that down from 10,000 to 1,000 and that move alone has helped extend the 812 ‘s lifespan by about a decade,” he says. “If it wouldn’t have been for that 812 would have probably run out of numbers in 2004.”