Hundreds of thousands of Western Kentucky residents won't be getting a new telephone area code any time soon.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission announced Monday it has canceled its plan to create an area code for far Western Kentucky.
There is no immediate need to split the 270 area, which includes Bowling Green, Owensboro, Elizabethtown, Hopkinsville and Paducah, because of declining demand for new phone numbers and a change in the way numbers are assigned, the PSC said in a news release.
The proposed 364 area code had been delayed several times.
The latest projections show there won't be a need for the new area code until late 2014. It wouldn't take until then to put a new area code in place, so it makes more sense to cancel the current process and start over when necessary, PSC chairman David Armstrong said in a statement.
"Today's decision ends the ongoing uncertainty over when a split of area code 270 would occur," Armstrong said. "Restarting the process when needed is going to be far less disruptive to residents and businesses."
The PSC started the process of creating a new area code in the western end of state in 2006, after the agency that oversees distribution of phone numbers projected that the 270 area would run out of numbers in 2008.
However, the Federal Communications Commission later approved the PSC's request to change how numbers are allotted to service providers in the 270 area code.
That allowed the PSC to require a procedure that reduced the size of blocks of numbers assigned to telecommunications providers.
A company might not need to use all the numbers in a code or block, so the use of smaller groupings cut the number of phone listings assigned but not used, the PSC said.
The new rule also required companies to turn in available blocks of numbers.
The number of available numbers in the 270 area went up after the PSC started using the procedure, and it now stands at about 2 million, the PSC said in a news release.