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Dialing procedure changing in 812 area code

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Later this year, residents who live in the 812 area code will need to dial 10 digits, even when calling their next-door neighbor.

In six months, mandatory 10-digit local dialing in the 812 area code goes into effect. And a month after that, the 930 area code will be assigned to new telephone customers in Nashville, Columbus, Seymour and other cities currently covered in the 812 area code.

The new area code was requested by the telecommunications industry because the supply of available 812 telephone numbers is expected to run out next year.

Last year, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission established a new 930 area code overlay of the existing 812 area code, which has served all of southern Indiana since it was put in service on Jan. 1, 1947.

A six-month transition period begins March 1 to allow people to get used to the idea of dialing 10 digits when making a local call. During the transition period, callers can dial either the seven-digit number or the 10-digit one, including the area code. When dialing long distance, such as between Nashville and Columbus, a “1” at the beginning is still needed, as it always was.

Starting Sept. 6, people attempting a phone call without first dialing the area code will receive an error message, and the call will not go through, said Danielle McGrath, a spokeswoman with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

After Oct. 6, anyone making a call in southern Indiana will have to know which area code to use — 812 or 930.

The other option besides an overlay was splitting the current 812 area code area geographically, keeping half of it 812 and changing the other half to 930. During a public comment period, business advocates in the 812 area code pressed for the overlap option to avoid changing stationery and signage for the phone numbers of existing businesses.

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