10-digit dialing to be mandatory Feb. 1

Brittany Wise Reporter

January 7, 2014

Beginning Saturday, February 1, all phone calls made to numbers within the 270 area code will require 10-digit dialing.

Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairman David Armstrong said that phones and other equipment that use automatic dialing will need to be reprogrammed prior to February to include the area code as well. This includes phone-based security systems and medical alert systems.

The change is coming because the area, which encompasses the western portion of Kentucky, including Grayson and surrounding counties, will soon be receiving a secondary area code.

With only a limited number of 270 phone numbers left, and the need for additional numbers still increasing, a decision was made by the PSC to create a new area code to handle the demand. No current phone numbers will change; however, individuals and businesses in the region who are receiving a new phone number may be assigned the new area code, 364, as early as March 3, 2014.

Andrew MeInykovych, with the Commonwealth’s Public Service Commission, explained that the PSC felt that the least disruptive way to handle the demand for new phone numbers was to create an “overlay” system, which “superimposes a new area code over an existing area code.”

MeInykovych also said that this system will impose the smallest cost on businesses within the area.

The new dialing system will not effect long distance costs, and those calling within the area will not be charged a fee, though they will be required to dial either 270 or 364 before the regular seven-digit phone number. Unlike long-distance dialing, there is no need to dial a ‘1’ before the area code when calling from another local phone number.

Those calling 911 for emergency assistance will not be required to enter any additional numbers.

A ‘permissive dialing period’ began in early August of last year, allowing area residents to get used to dialing in the area code along with local phone numbers, and that period continues on up to Feb. 1, when 10-digit dialing will be mandatory.