The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on Wednesday approved a plan to overlay a new area code over the existing 513 area code.
The area code, which covers Southwest Ohio, including Butler County and parts of Warren County, is expected to run out of available phone numbers in the fourth quarter of 2023. This change will not impact the current 513 area code subscribers and they will continue to maintain their current number and area code, according to PUCO.
“The actual implementation of the overlay will be determined at a later date,” PUCO officials said in a statement. They explained that when the overlay is implemented, “all new phone subscribers will be assigned the new 283 area code.”
An area code overlay usually requires a transition to 10-digit dialing to permit a fuller use of all the numbers within the area code, which is already being done in the 513 area code.
The need for the new area codes is because of the increasing importance of technology, according to the Federal Communications Commission. There are more phones in America than there are people. The federal agency reports that beginning in the 1990s, area code overlays were added.
The move to a new overlay 283 area code for Southwest Ohio is happening after the 937 area code, which includes the Dayton and Springfield areas, saw the 326 area code activated in March 2020. The 937 area code was only created in September 1996.
The next area code that could be exhausted is the 440 area code in northeast Ohio. PUCO officials say that could be exhausted by the first quarter of 2030.
Beginning in the early 1990s, to accommodate the growing need for more phone numbers, some areas began to add a second area code for local calls. Dialing both the area code and the seven-digit number was necessary to ensure the call reached the intended recipient. As more area codes begin to run out of new seven-digit numbers to assign, a second local area code may be added, requiring that area to transition to 10-digit dialing.
In 2020, the FCC established “988″ as the new, nationwide three-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The new three-digit dialing code will be available nationwide by July 16, 2022 and will provide an easy-to-remember and easy-to-dial three-digit number to reach suicide prevention and mental health counselors, similar to “911″ for emergencies and “311″ for local government services.
To help facilitate the creation of “988,” area codes that use “988″ as a local exchange, or the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number, will need to use 10-digit dialing.