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Implementation Of New 274 Area Code Delayed

 

Residents in Door and Kewaunee counties won't have to worry about changing their dialing habits any time soon.

The Public Service Commission Wednesday took steps to further postpone the implementation of a second area code in the portion of eastern Wisconsin now served by the 920 area code.

In 2008, the PSC directed that a new area code, 274, be "overlaid" on the existing 920 area code to ensure that an adequate supply of telephone numbers remain available throughout that part of the state. An overlay means that both the 920 and 274 area codes would serve the same geographic area. With an overlay, all calls -- local and long distance -- would have to be dialed using 10 digits.

Since the 2008 decision, PSC officials say effective conservation measures as well as economic conditions have further extended the anticipated life of the 920 area code. As of October 2012, the forecasted exhaust date of the 920 area code is the fourth quarter of 2017, making it appropriate to postpone the implementation of the new 274 area code.  

"Although an area code overlay allows residents to maintain their existing area code and their 7-digit local telephone number, there are inconveniences and potential expenses associated with the introduction of a new area code," PSC Chairperson Phil Montgomery said in a statement. "This welcome postponement ensures that residents living in the 920 area code will not be subject to dialing changes before it is necessary."

The PSC has requested that the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) establish "triggers" to reconvene a telecommunications industry meeting to develop a revised implementation schedule once the quantity of available central office codes in the 920 area code falls to 50, or the forecasted life of the 920 area code is within 24 months of exhaust.

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