TROY — Residents within the Miami Valley will soon experience a change in the way local calls are made. A new area code, 326, will be added to the area currently served by 937.
Beginning Feb. 8, 2020, cell and landline callers will be unable to make local calls without the area code. Currently, if a call is made without the addition of an area code, the call will still be completed, but all 10 digits will be required after the area code overlay change goes into effect.
On March 8, 2020, new phone numbers assigned in the current 937 area will be assigned area code 326. This area code overlay is simply an addition to the current area code utilized in this geographic region and will not require the change of any existing area codes. Three-digit numbers, including 911 and 411, will not change.
According to Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s spokesperson Matt Schilling, there are 7.9 million combinations of numbers available for any area code, and it’s estimated that numbers for the 937 area code will be reached in 2021.
With the growth in technology and the increase of its application in everyday life, the need for new telephone numbers has and will continue to increase. Technological conveniences such as pay-at-the-pump gas stations, automatic teller machines, and alarm devices each require phone numbers, and many households now have multiple phone lines and cell phones, each requiring a unique number.
Beginning Aug 10, 2019, Schilling said, residents within the area are encouraged to begin using the new dialing procedures in order to become accustomed to the change prior to its February start date, though calls made without dialing the area code will still be completed.
On and after Feb. 8, calls made without the area code will not be completed, prompting a recording instructing the caller to hang up and dial again including the area code.
In addition to changing dialing procedures, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a seven-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedures.
This may include life safety systems, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems or gates, speed dialers, call-forwarding settings, and voicemail services.
Although 937 numbers available to be assigned are declining, numbers with that area code will become available over time and may be re-assigned.
Numbers are de-activated, when people move or die for example, and become available for re-assignment after a period of time.
Schilling said that period of time usually is 90 days for a personal phone number and a year for a business number.
For more information, visit www.puco.ohio.gov, or call (800) 686-7826.
— Urbana Daily Citizen reporter Kathy Fox contributed to this report.
Reach the writer at 937-552-2205.