Expecting to run out of numbers for the 317 area code by 2017, the telecommunications industry wants to create a second area code for central Indiana.
Consumers will have a chance to weigh in on how the new area code is administered, as the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission holds a series of field hearings and accepts written comments.
The industry, represented by the North American Numbering Plan Administration, has filed a request with state regulators to add the new code to the 317 area using the "all services overlay" method.
Everyone who has a 317 area code would keep it, said Anthony Swinger, spokesman for the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, which represents consumer interests before the IURC.
Numbers for new customers and devices would be issued under the new code.
All new area codes created since 2008 have been administered through the overlay method, Swinger said, which avoids splitting area codes along geographic boundaries and forcing consumers and businesses to change their phone numbers.
Although those currently with 317 numbers will keep them, the overlay method does mean that 10-digit dialing would be required for all local calls, following a six-month grace period, Swinger said. The new area code would likely take effect in 2016.
The OUCC is scheduled to file testimony on Jan. 6 for the IURC to consider.
Telephone carriers started using a new area code, 930, in southern Indiana this year. The region is still in a grace period on 10-digit dialing, Swinger said. That is set to end in February, he said.
The IURC set the following schedule of field hearings:
— Indianapolis, 10 a.m., Sept. 26, PNC Center, 101 W. Washington St., Room 222.
— Carmel, 6 p.m., Oct. 1, Carmel Clay School District Office Boardroom, 5201 E. Main St.
— Franklin, 6 p.m., Oct. 14, Franklin College Student Center Branigin Room, 101 Branigin Blvd.
— Danville, 6 p.m., Oct. 29, Danville High School, 100 Warrior Way
— Greenfield, 6 p.m., Dec. 1, City Hall Council Chambers, 10 S. State St.
Written comments can be sent to the following places:
Consumer Services Staff, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Or via email at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov or fax to (317) 232-5923