Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 4, 2013

Phone company hoping for smooth area code transition

By Jenni Hanna Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — As was announced earlier this year, phone numbers in Southern Indiana are undergoing a change.

The 812 area code is experiencing a number shortage. As a result, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission began gathering research and public feedback to determine the best solution for the shortage. The IURC is an advocate of neither the public nor the utility companies. The IURC is required by state statute to make decisions that balance the interests of

all parties to ensure the utilities provide adequate and reliable service at reasonable rates. Following months of research, including 10 public hearings across southern Indiana, the IURC announced its decision on July 31.

Southern Indiana has been assigned a new area code: 930. In a process known as overlay, this area code will be assigned ‘over’ the same geographic area as the existing 812. The overlay means that customers who have the existing 812 area code will be able to keep their current phone number. After a certain date, customers requesting a new service for a fax, landline or cell phone, will be assigned a 930 area code.

With the new area code, all customers will now have to use 10-digit dialing, regardless of whether they are calling a local or long distance number. The changes will require some education and a training period. At present there is no official start date. Telecommunication companies are currently in the process of making their plans and preparations.

Once those plans are finalized, there will be a 13-month grace period consisting of: six months of education and network preparation; six months of permissive dialing (meaning customers can use either the 7 or 10 digits to dial in the 812 area); and one month of mandatory 10-digit dialing.

Sometime after that, the 930 numbers will begin to be assigned.

The 812 area code has been untouched since 1947. All other areas in Indiana had been previously split to accommodate growing demand. According to a press release from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, population growth, economic growth and demand for new services have been, and continue to be, the primary contributors to the number shortages.

According to the IURC, the overlay option was overwhelmingly more popular than the alternative. That option would have divided southern Indiana, allowing portions to retain their 812 identity, while forcing others to adopt a completely new number.

For businesses and residences alike, the possibility of being assigned a new number was inconvenient and potentially costly.

As a result, the overlay option proved more attractive. With the new area code, the 930 and 812 numbers together have a life expectancy of 71 years.

“Media throughout southern Indiana have followed this closely and responded with coverage, which has been instrumental in community outreach and educating the public,” said IURC Commissioner Larry Landis in a news release dated July 31st. “At the end of the day, it all comes down to education and making sure this transition is as smooth as possible.”

As your local phone company, ETC will strive to make the transition as smooth as possible in the coming months.

While our transition plans are still a work in progress, our goal is to be transparent during the conversion process. Be watching your local ETC Community Channel, reading your local paper and listening to your local radio stations for updates.