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Pending Area Code Exhaust

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 Administrator has notified the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) of the following exhaust dates* for Ohio area codes:

Area Code Exhaust Year Exhaust Quarter
216 2034 3Q
330/234 2019 3Q
419/567 2030 2Q
440 2019 2Q
513 2018 1Q
614 2016 1Q
740 2015 2Q
937 2017 4Q

*as of 11/4/2013

What has the Public Utilities Commission 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 additional area code to the existing one, 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 Commission 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.