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State regulators approve new area code overlay for the 315 region

New York State Public Service Commission

A new area code is coming for those who live in the 18 counties that are part of the 315 area code. The New York State Public Service Commission Thursday approved an 'area code overlay' for the region.

That means that anyone who currently has a telephone number with a 315 area code will keep that area code when the overlay is implemented, which is likely to be sometime before early 2017. Once the overlay goes into effect, any new telephone numbers will be given the new area code. 

Regulators chose the overlay over a geographical split, where half the area would keep the 315 area code and half would be given the new area code, mainly for convenience. The Department of Public Service said an overlay would be easier to implement, less expensive and easier for customers to adapt to. 

There will be changes to the way you dial, even if your area code doesn't change. Currently, any telephone with a 315 area code that dials another number in the 315 area code only needs to dial the 7-digit number. Once the overlay is in place, the full 10-digit number (area code plus number) will need to be dialed. Anyone in the 315 area code that dials a number with the new area code will need to dial 1, then the 10-digit number.

Telephone carriers have 45 days to come up with a plan to implement the changes. This plan will include an 11-month "permissive dialing period", which will allow users to dial either 7 or 10 digit numbers. After that, only 10-digit numbers can be dialed. According to the Public Service Commission, if users dial a 7 digit number, they will hear a message prompting them to dial the full 10 digits. 

Regulators said a new area code is needed because the 315 area code could run out of telephone numbers by early 2017.