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Monday, February 20, 2017

Are you in the 213 or 323 area code? Prepare to change how you make a call – even to the place next door

Courtesy CPUC

By BARRY LANK

Everyone in the 213 or 323 area codes, which cover the entire Eastside, should start dialing the phone differently in a few days, according to the Public Utilities Commission.

Whether you’re calling Alaska or the house next door, you should dial 1 plus the area code – even if you’re trying to reach someone in your own area code (mobile phone users, however, will only have to dial the area code and phone number).

The change goes into effect on Jan. 14. But it won’t becomes mandatory until July 8.

This is because the geographical boundaries between 213 and 323 are being taken down. Last July, the CPUC issued what it called a “boundary elimination area code overlay,” meaning 323 numbers can serve people living in 213 areas, and visa versa – so people can keep the service providers they prefer.

Either area code may be assigned to those who get a new phone number or an additional telephone line, starting August 1.

The upside is that it should make it even easier to keep the same phone number, no matter where you go.

“Taking your phone number with you when you move is handy as hell,” said Rudy Reber, a resident of Hollywood, “unless you get a phone on the East Coast then move to California and start having telemarketers call at 5:30 in the morning.”

This kind of policy is slowly creeping across the United States. As the demand for more phone numbers continues booming, the United States has seen more than 35 area code overlays in the last 10 years, according to the CPUC.

One person who has already experienced this kind of change is Megan Smith of San Francisco, where the old 415 area code was overlaid with the new 628 code in early 2015.

“It is incredibly annoying to dial 1-415 before dialing your next door neighbor. But you get used to it, and then it’s only mildly annoying,” Smith said. “The really, really annoying part is that you have to redo all your mobile phone contacts to add the area code. True First World problem, that one.”

The CPUC offered up this list of things to do to prepare for the overlay:

  • Reprogram equipment or features that currently use 7-digit dialing to dial 1+ area code + telephone number, such as automatic dialers, speed-dialing, call forwarding, modems for
    computer or Internet dial-up access, etc.
  • Ensure that alarm and security door or gate systems are reprogrammed to dial 1 + area code + telephone number.
  • Test telephone equipment, such as a PBX, to determine if it can dial and receive 1 + area code + telephone number. Questions regarding changes in telephone equipment should be
    directed to telephone equipment vendors.
  • Update items such as stationery, checks, business cards, advertisements, promotional items, brochures, Internet webpages, and catalogs to reflect the area code if they don’t include the
    area code currently.

For mobile phone users, Verizon Wireless advises:

  • Update any pre-programmed 7-digit phone numbers in your mobile device to include the area code, as well as any text or email alert services, and any call forwarding services.

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3 comments

  1. Thanks for the Head’s Up!

  2. NeighborhoodSniper

    Good to know!

  3. Native Californian

    Wow, I thought all of SoCal was 10 digit dialing already. I don’t live on the west side any longer so I’ve always had to dial these area codes.

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