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Pending area code exhaust

November 28, 2017

What is "exhaust"?

An area code reaches "exhaust" when nearly all of the telephone prefixes within that area code are assigned. Prefixes follow the area code and are the first three numbers of a customer's local phone number. Faxes, pages, cell phone calls, ATMs, and pay-at-the-pump gas stations are just some of the ways phone numbers are being used.

The North American Numbering Plan Administration has notified the PUCO of the following exhaust dates for Ohio area codes (as of October 2017):

Area Code Exhaust Year Exhaust Quarter
216 2044 1Q
330/234 2035 1Q
419/567 2037 2Q
440 2023 2Q
513 2024 3Q
937 2020 3Q

What has the PUCO done to solve this exhaust problem?

Relief for area code exhaust is usually done by either dividing the area code with a geographic split or by adding an area code to the existing geographic area, commonly called an overlay. The PUCO has decided that an overlay will be used in the 330, 419, 513, 614, and 740 area codes.

What is an overlay?

As the name suggests, the new area code "overlays" the pre-existing area serving the identical geographic area. The benefit of an overlay is that customers retain their existing area codes. Only new lines get the new area code. An overlay requires all customers, including those with telephone numbers in the pre-existing area code, to dial area codes in addition to the seven-digit number for local calls (10-digit dialing).

Why did the PUCO choose overlays for 330, 419, 513, 614, and 740?

The overlay plans treat all existing 330, 419, 513, 614, and 740 customers equally by allowing them to retain their area code on all existing lines and, as necessary, to have the new area code assigned to new telephone lines in the future. Also, businesses will benefit by not having to incur the additional expense of changing advertising materials.

The requirement for all existing customers to change their local dialing patterns is the most significant impact of the overlay plan.