The New York Public Service Commission has instituted a public comment period to evaluate the options for adding additional phone numbers in the 315 area code region.
The relief plan proposed by the Commission follows forecasts by the North
American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) that the number of available 315 phone numbers in the region would run out in early 2015.
This forecast is an adjustment to two earlier predictions that overestimated the time in which the demand for new numbers would exhaust the 315 numbers available.
The options under consideration are to either create an overlay, superimposing a new area code on the present 315 region, or geographically splitting the region into two zones.
With the overlay, new numbers would have a new area code and everyone in the region will be required to use the full 11-digit number (1+area code+7 digit number) when making calls.
With the geographic split, one region would keep the 315 area code and the other would be assigned a new area code.
The public comment period is due in part to a letter from State Senator Patty Ritchie of the 48th District to the Commission asking them to delay action on the relief plan due to questions about the need for a new area code.
In her letter, Ritchie notes that “it is not clear that recent growth in the use of mobile or other devices…has brought the region anywhere near the point where we are at the risk of exhausting the supply of available numbers” with a 315 area code, which the NANPA identifies as 600,000 numbers.
Senator Joseph A. Griffo of the 47th District urges residents and businesses to contact the Public Service Commission with their opinion on the proposed plans stating that the 315 area code has been a part of the region’s telecommunications system for decades.
“Those three little numbers have become part of our identity and everyday lives, so when someone wants to change them, the consequences are real,” Griffo said.
Additional information and a survey are available on the Public Service Commission’s website www.askpsc.com.
While public hearings were held this past week in Utica, Watertown and Syracuse, written and phone comments are still being accepted via the following avenues:
• The Internet or In Writing: Submit comments electronically to Hon. Jeffrey C. Cohen, Acting Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail or delivery to Acting Secretary Cohen at the Depart-ment of Public Service, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350.
Comments may also be entered directly into the case by locating the case via the home page of the Commission’s website, www.dps.ny.gov, by clicking on “Search,” and entering 07-C-1486 in the “Search by Case Number” field.
After clicking to open the case, enter comments in the “Post Comments” section located at the top of the page.
• Toll-Free Opinion Line: Individuals may choose to submit comments by calling the Commission’s toll-free Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120.
This line is set up to receive in-state calls 24-hours a day. Callers should press “1” to leave comments about “Case 07-C-1486 – Area Code 315 Overlay.”
Comments are requested by August 16, 2013.