Area code 615 almost exhausted
By Carole Robinson, Senior Staff Writer
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator, the organization charged with monitoring the nation’s phone numbering resources, predicts by mid-2015 area code 615 will be at capacity, Williamson County Commissioner Bob Barnwell told the Board of Commissioners during their September meeting.
“We will run out of numbers by 2015, and the feds want us to decide how we want the change implemented,” Barnwell said in an interview this week.
When area codes were introduced in October 1947, Tennessee had only one—Area Code 901.
Seven years, later most of the state east of the Tennessee River was reassigned the 615 area code.
It took another 41 years before Area Code 615 was exhausted for the first time.
In 1995, Area Code 423 was created and assigned to the eastern portion of Tennessee.
Within a year, rapid growth and technology—cell phones and pagers—brought the code again to near exhaustion. This led to another split and the Area Code 931 was born.
Currently 615 numbers encompass 13 of the state’s 95 counties from the Kentucky border south to the Maury County line.
However, now 615 residents face yet another split or possibly an overlay.
If it takes place, this would be the first overlay in the state.
An overlay delays the addition of a new area code by allowing all 13 counties to keep 615, but all users of 615 would be required to dial 10-digits rather than seven.
Eventually, when 615 numbers become exhausted new phone subscribers will be assigned a new area code.
If the decision is to split the area code, calls made within each area remain seven-digit calls.
But all existing calls dialed between the two areas, although still considered local calls for billing purposes, will require 10-digit dialing.
New assigned numbers called between the areas would be considered long distance.
The Tennessee Regulatory Authority is soliciting citizen opinion regarding these two options.
More information may be found at www.tn.gov/tra.
Survey forms are available in the Office of the County Mayor at the Administrative Complex or online or search for Area Code 615 Exhaustion Survey.
Posted on: 9/18/2013