As of Tuesday, October 6, 2015
BOISE — The days of a single area code for Idaho are coming to an end.
An agency that contracts with the federal government to administer the nation’s area code numbering plan recently informed Idaho officials and telecommunications providers that Idaho’s “208” area code is projected to run out of available numbers in mid-2018. The proliferation of wireless telephones, new competitive telephone companies, paging and messaging services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is contributing to the increase in demand for new telephone numbers.
Idaho’s telecommunications providers are asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to begin a 16-month implementation period for a second area code. There is no cost to customers.
The telecommunications providers are recommending that the commission implement a “geographic overlay” of the new area code as opposed to a “geographic split.”
The geographic overlay would superimpose the new area code over the entire state, but assign it only to new numbers. All existing customers would retain their 208 area code with only new numbers assigned the new area code. However, all customers would be required to begin 10-digit dialing for all calls, which would include the area code, prefix and four-digit number.
According to the North American Plan Numbering Administrator, there are only 12 states left with one area code, but second area codes are being proposed in half those states, including Idaho, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Other states with one area code include Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Comments are accepted via e-mail, by accessing the commission’s Website at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on “Case Comment Form,” under the “Consumers” heading. Fill in the case number (GNR-T-15-06) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to 334-3762.