DUBOIS – The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission held an official meeting Wednesday night to get the area’s opinions on the record regarding the proposed 814 area code change.
New data, petitions and complaints pushed back the implementation, but the 814 area code is still going to run out. The current numbers are expected to last two years longer than originally estimated. At the current rate of consumption there will be no 814 telephone numbers left to hand out by first quarter 2015.
Wayne Milby, Neustar’s senior relief number planner, explained some of the history and procedures of how new area codes are decided. The 814 area code is the last of the original four Pennsylvanian area codes left untouched by relief measures. This time the 814 area code won’t be so lucky. The two possibilities for implementing the new area code are a geographic split or an all service overlay.
A geographic split would cut the 814 area into two sections determined by estimated lifespan of the two area codes and “rate center” positioning. The boundaries for the two area codes would not follow municipal lines. The current favored split would run the boundary down Rockton Mountain and through the middle of the DuBois Area School District. It would also split Elk County. One side, the DuBois side, would have to change the phone number for every citizen, business and government service in this scenario.
An all service overlay would require everyone to dial ten digits to call a person, area code plus the other seven digits, but no one would have to change their existing telephone numbers. Once the 814 area code was used up the new area code would then be handed out.
Testimonies were given by local and county government officials and predominantly self-proclaimed retired citizenry of the area. No one, not even the four attorneys present with the PUC, seemed to have a problem with the overlay option. There were some preferred the trying to have the geographic split moved so that the immediate area could stick with just dialing seven numbers, but supported an overlay as their second choice.