The Washington Times-Herald

March 1, 2014

Southern Indiana begins transition to 930 area code

By Mike Grant Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — Telephone users in the southern half of Indiana are now beginning the transition to adding a new area code. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has approved an overlay area code of 930 that will cover all phones currently in the 812 area.

“This was the overwhelming choice from consumers, phone companies and the IURC,” said Natalie Derrickson, communications manager for the IURC. “Now, we are taking the first step toward a 13 month implementation.”

The biggest change for consumers will be that when they make even local calls they will eventually be required to dial a 10-digit number instead of seven. “We have moved into the permissive stage,” said Derrickson. “Right now we are encouraging people to dial ten digits although 7-digit calls will still go through. We really want people to use this time to update their contact lists, their automatic dialers, even the microchips they use to keep track of their animals to include the current area code.”

The permissive period will continue until Sept. 6, 2014. After that all calls must include the 10-digit number. “At that time when people try to use seven digits they will receive a recording that their call did not go through.”

The IURC held dozens of hearings around the southern half of Indiana when it became clear that 812 area code that had been in place since 1947 would soon run out of numbers. “With the addition of cell phones and faxes and home security systems the available numbers have begun to shrink,” said Derrickson. “In a lot of families everyone has their own phone. We expect to exhaust all of those available numbers sometime in 2015.”

The plan is for everyone who now has an 812 area code number to keep it. In October new telephone customers will start getting assigned to the 930 area code. “At that time it would be very possible that the person next door to you who gets a new phone line will have a different area code.”

Despite the changes, local telephone calls will continue to be local. Calls to specialty numbers like 211, 411 and 911 will only require those three digits.

Specifics about the changes are being sent out to consumers by telephone companies. “Everyone should have their first notice now, and a second reminder will be sent out this summer,” said Derrickson. “This is going to be a time for learning and having a conversation about the changes that are coming. Nearly everybody uses a phone everyday. This is a chance to get used to it before it becomes mandatory.”