New code delayed to reflect later date for exhaustion of area code 270 numbers
The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) recently revised the starting date for the optional use of area code 364, delaying it by six months to Jan. 1, 2009.
The change reflects an updated estimate of the date by which the present area code 270, from which area code 364 will be split, will run out of available numbers.
In an order issued Nov. 9, 2007, the PSC also continued to hold open the date for mandatory use of area code 364. It will not be determined until after the PSC fully assesses how a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision regarding the assignment of telephone numbers will further affect the lifespan of area code 270.
Area code 364 will cover the western portion of the current area code 270, including the cities of Henderson, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Murray and Paducah.
On May 31, the PSC decided to accommodate the rising demand for new telephone numbers in western Kentucky by splitting area code 270, with the eastern portion retaining the current area code. Cities remaining in area code 270 include Bowling Green, Columbia, Glasgow, Elizabethtown and Owensboro.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), which allocates telephone numbers to telecommunication providers, recently revised its estimate of the number exhaustion date for code 270, from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009.
On the same day that the PSC issued its order splitting area code 270, the FCC granted the PSC’s request for a change in the way telephone numbers are allocated by NANPA within the area code. The FCC decision, which allows the PSC to require a procedure known as number pooling, could free up thousands of unused telephone numbers.
Number pooling will take effect Nov. 30. The PSC expects to have sufficient data to be able to evaluate the effect of number pooling in early 2008.
This action marks the second delay in the start date for area code 364. Optional use had originally been scheduled to begin April 1, 2008, with mandatory use beginning on Oct. 1, 2008. The first delay followed the FCC’s decision on number pooling.
In the order, the PSC said telecommunications providers in the area should notify their customers of the revised date for implementation of area code 364.
The current area code 270 was established in 1999. The need for new numbers is being driven by rapid growth in the area and the proliferation of cellular phones and other wireless devices, each of which requires a new phone number.
Area code 364 is currently projected by NANPA to run out of numbers in 23 years after implementation. The exhaustion time for the redrawn area code 270 is 13 years.
The number assignment procedure that now will be used in area code 270 is already in place in the Louisville area and in the Kentucky counties of the Cincinnati metropolitan area. It assigns numbers in smaller blocks.
Area code number exhaustion occurs when there are no number blocks remaining to be assigned. Therefore, mandating number allocation in smaller blocks can extend the life of an area code.
Documents in the area code 270 case may be found on the PSC Web site, which is psc.ky.gov. The case number is 2006-00357.
The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Department of Public Protection in the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in the commonwealth of Kentucky and has approximately 110 employees.