HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a modified implementation schedule for the new “223” overlay area code, which covers all or part of 16 counties in Central Pennsylvania currently using the 717 area code.
The Commission voted 5-0 addressing a Joint Petition for Reconsideration, filed by the telecommunications industry, requesting changes to some of the key deadlines included in the original 717 relief plan, approved by the Commission on Oct. 27, 2016, in order to clarify specific dates for implementation.
Specifically, the implementation plan directs all telecommunications companies to make the necessary network preparations for the new 223 overlay area code by Mar. 4, 2017.
Telephone carriers will begin their education efforts starting on March 4 – reaching out to consumers across central Pennsylvania with information about adjusting to the new overlay area code. This educational period will continue for six months and will include encouraging residents and businesses to begin voluntarily using 10-digit dialing for calls within the 717/223 service area (permissive dialing). This educational period also provides consumers with time to edit numbers stored on their phones or other devices, to ensure that they include the full 10-digit number.
On Aug. 26, 2017, mandatory 10-digit dialing will begin – requiring all calls in the 717/223 service area to be made using the area code plus the seven-digit number. If only the seven-digit number is dialed at this time, customers will reach a recorded announcement stating they must hang up and redial the number using the area code plus the seven-digit number.
Today’s Commission Order specifies that Neustar shall not actually release any new numbers for the 223 overlay area code until Sept. 26, 2017, and that requests for numbers in the 717 area code will continue to be honored as long as resources are available. The Commission will receive monthly updates on the projected exhaust date for the 717 area code and will continue to closely monitor the implementation process.
The overlay area code relief option was supported by the majority of individuals who submitted written comments or testified at PUC hearings, along with the telecommunications industry. Overlay area codes have now been approved for most of Pennsylvania and are in use across much of the country. The new 223 area code was selected by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), Neustar, Inc., the neutral third party area code relief planner for Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket No.: P-2015-2510230