PSC to hold 6 public meetings on new area code for Western Kentucky

ssloan@herald-leader.comOctober 8, 2012 

  • Public meetings on new area code

    Bowling Green: 6 p.m. Oct. 29. Tentative location is the auditorium at Greenwood High School, 5065 Scottsville Road.

    Elizabethtown: 6 p.m. Oct. 30. Occupational Technical Building at Elizabethtown Community & Technical College, 620 College Street Road.

    Henderson: 6 p.m. Oct. 22. University of Kentucky Extension Service, 3341 Zion Drive.

    Hopkinsville: 6 p.m. Oct. 17. Auditorium at Hopkinsville Community College, 720 North Drive.

    Owensboro: 6 p.m. Oct. 24. Auditorium at Owensboro Middle School, 1300 Booth Avenue.

    Paducah: 2-7 p.m. Oct. 18. Regional trade show at Paducah Expo Center, 415 Park Drive. The PSC will have a booth at which staffers will be present.

    Other ways to comment: Residents may submit comments at Psc.ky.gov, by mail to P.O. Box 615, Frankfort, Ky., 40602, or by fax at (502) 564-9625.

  • Numbers are almost up

The state Public Service Commission has scheduled a half-dozen public meetings to discuss the process of creating a new area code in Western Kentucky.

At the meetings, the PSC staff will discuss the need for the new area code, show an informational video and take public comments on the options.

The discussion is linked to a notice by the North American Numbering Plan Administration, or NANPA, which oversees phone numbers and area codes, that the 270 area code that stretches from Bowling Green to Paducah will run out of numbers by the first quarter of 2014.

The PSC is weighing two options for creating the new area code. The first is an overlay, in which any new phone numbers in that geographic area would receive area code 364. No existing phone numbers would change, but the drawback would be that people would have to dial the area code for all calls, including local calls.

The second option is to split the 270 territory and assign area code 364 to a portion of it. A split would require that roughly half of the people in the 270 area code get a new phone number, including mobile phone users in that area code. The advantage, though, is the area code would not have to be dialed when making local calls.

PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych has said the vast majority of new area codes recently have been created via overlays. A decision on the new area code is expected by the end of the year.

This is the latest in talks stretching back years on the need for a new area code in Western Kentucky.

The issue first surfaced in 2001, when NANPA suggested numbers might be running out. In May 2007, the commission ordered the creation of the 364 area code in the western half of the 270 area code.

Those plans were put on hold several times, though, because of a decrease in demand for phone numbers and a change in how phone numbers were assigned.

The last area code to be added in Kentucky was 859 in 2000.

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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